The Plainfield Board of Zoning Appeals met on Monday, October 19, 2009. In attendance were Mr. Cavanaugh, Mr. Gibbs and Mr. Monnett.
ROLL CALL/DETERMINATION OF QUORUM
Mr. Carlucci administered the roll call.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Gibbs made a motion to approve the September 17, 2009 and October 6, 2009 special meeting of the Plainfield Board of Zoning Appeals as submitted. Second by Mr. Cavanaugh. Motion carried.
OATH OF TESTIMONY
Mr. Jim Chapman administered the Oath of Testimony. I would also like to mention to the audience that as you know we have three members of the board present tonight; there is one vacancy and one absent. In order for the board to take action tonight you would need to obtain the approval of all three members of the board. If you would like a continuance, now is the time, otherwise, in order to take action you would need the approval from all three members. (No continuance was requested).
Mr. Monnett reviewed the Guidelines Governing the Conduct of Public Hearings. Tonight we have previously continued petition, BZA-09-010.
Mr. James said the first petition tonight is BZA-09-010. The petitioner is Thornton's, Inc. This is a sign variance request. If you recall, at the September meeting before this request went to a public hearing the petitioner proposed a new sign, a ground sign instead of the originally proposed 20 foot tall pole sign. That was a pretty significant change so the petitioner was told to continue the request and that they would be re-noticed to the surrounding property owners and also in the papers. So, it has been re-noticed and we are going to move forward with this revised request. It is now for a 14˝ foot tall ground sign instead of the 20 foot tall pole sign. They also need a variance for the size of the sign. The sign is now 155 square feet instead of 68 square feet and then also they need a variance for the changeable copy area. The changeable copy area will be 69% where only 40% is allowed. This is for an outlot at 2115 Hartford Avenue. Here is the site, SR267, Hartford Avenue right here. It is zoned General Commercial so as an outlot they are only allowed a 48 square foot ground sign with a six foot height. The reason why it is 155 square feet is because they propose an eight foot tall decorative stone base. Being eight foot tall a decorative base is only allowed to be two feet tall. So, we have to count that extra six feet as part of the sign. It is in an outlot and an integrated center, which the ordinance restricts a ground sign to six feet tall and 48 square feet and the changeable copy portion would only be 40%. The ordinance does provide to allow for mortar signs for outlots along SR267 and as a gas sign they could have a ground sign for each street frontage but they are still restricted to 48 square feet.
The site has already been granted two variances; one was in 1996 to allow the existing ground sign that is 64 square feet and it had a reduced setback and then also they got a variance to have a larger changeable copy area. They got another variance in 1997 to add another wall sign to the back of the building. In the surrounding properties you have Woodfire Grill to the south and the board denied a setback variance for a ground sign at that site last year.
The site plan has been revised so that the proposed ground sign is out of the 20 foot drainage and utility easement so we no longer need an encroachment agreement. Included in the digital fuel price sign and the marquee is what makes the changeable copy portion at 69%. As I previously stated, the reason why the sign is so big is because of the stone base but the actual sign portion is still the same size that was originally proposed with the pole sign but because we have to add the six feet of the stone base that makes it almost 156 square feet.
Here is the revised site plan. It is going to be on the northwest corner of the site. Here is the 20 foot drainage and utility easement. This is SR267 and the right-of-way begins so it has been moved out of the drainage and utility easement. The setbacks also comply.
This was the pole sign that was originally proposed and this is the new ground sign that they proposed at the beginning of the September meeting. This portion is the same size as the pole sign and the stone base is eight feet tall and the decorative base can only be two feet tall so we have to include this entire portion as part of the sign. This portion “Welcome to Plainfield” is not included in the square footage of the sign with the stone base. This is the existing ground sign that they have out there and they would like to replace it with this new taller and larger ground sign. It is set back enough from SR267 because of the large right-of-way associated with SR267 and also it is set back so the visual clearance should not be an issue. Here are some photographs; here is one heading north and the existing sign. Heading sign is the existing sign. So, this new sign will just be five feet to the east. You can see some of the signage that they already have on the site.
Under Staff Comments Article 7.4.C. limits freestanding signs to six feet tall and 48 square feet for outlots for a reason. It is to limit sign proliferation and clutter along Gateway Corridors. Gas stations on outlots already have an advantage with the signage that other sites and uses do not have. They can have a ground sign for each street. Again, it can only be 48 square feet. The existing ground sign could be changed to a digital fuel price sign as long as it still complies with the conditions that were granted back in 1996. If the cabinet is not removed, then they could have a digital fuel price sign on the canopy.
We showed the new sign to DRC last week and they reiterated their original recommendation, which was denial. They said there was no hardship and it sets precedence if granted. While the new ground sign may be more attractive than the pole sign granting this variance sets precedence for existing and future development with regards to the size of freestanding ground signs.
Mr. Carlucci said I don't know if it is better to do this now or later but I have some comments about the history behind the signage out there. Whatever their reasoning was they chose the location that they are in where the gas station is located. They could have chosen closer to Hadley Road but they chose not to do that. The other thing is that Joe touched on a little about setting precedence when the Standard Oil Station was there. When that site was cleared and the DP station was put up, they lost all of their signage; they had to comply. The Shell Station actually took down one of their tall signs and they kept it down and came into the Board of Zoning Appeals and got a variance to put it back up for a set period of time and then they had to remove it, which they did. As you know the Cracker Barrel sign went all the way to the State Supreme Court and we won on that because they took their cabinet down and they lost their variance. What Joe says about setting precedence I certainly think this would do that. Plus the fact that I believe they got a variance to go from 48 to 64 square feet.
Mr. James said that is correct.
Mr. Carlucci said they got that variance and I don't know what has changed out there from here to there but the variances that they are asking for certainly will set precedence. And I will guarantee you that the other businesses will see that and will take advantage of it and make it difficult down the road to defend yourself if you grant one and don't grant the other. It creates confusion and I think it also takes away from what the Plan Commission and Town Council desired for signage in Plainfield.
Mr. James said the existing signs at the intersection of Hadley and Perry and SR267 are legal nonconforming or they were granted through Hendricks County before that area was annexed. With that I will have a seat and Brent Forte is here representing the petitioner.
Mr. Brent Forte at 6001 Nimes Parkway, South Bend, Indiana, 46628 said as Joe had mentioned we are here tonight requesting a sign variance. I have some additional materials I would like to hand out. We will be able to skip the first few pages because Joe presented the site plan already. As Joe mentioned, we are surrounded by three street frontages and that is Hartford Avenue, Cambridge Way and SR267, which gives us the ability to allow for a freestanding sign for each one of those frontages. The code once again allows for 48 square feet at six feet in overall height. We are here tonight requesting one sign and I know the importance is to not clutter the streets for outlots along SR267 as well as any other streets within the Town of Plainfield. One of the commitments that we would definitely be willing to make is to get rid of the ability to allow for any other freestanding signs on our sites. That would be one condition if the variance was approved, we would forgo the other two freestanding signs for the Thornton's Gas Station. I have visited the site numerous times and obviously I'm not from around here but due to the site conditions because if you look at the aerial photo, I believe on page four of the packet, not all of our patrons will be coming from the north. However, there is that median there and you do have to get in the left turn lane and for me personally I constantly look at gas before I go in and fill up for gas. I do have preferred gas stations; I think we all do but I think gas prices are something that is always on people's minds. That does cause a lot of impulse gas purchases. You can take whatever study is produced recently or what company does it but as far as gas stations and other service stations run about 45% off of impulse purchases not to mention the convenience store purchases. Surprisingly enough as gas prices rise, Thornton's Gas Station makes less and less money on gas and they rely more on their convenience store.
If I could have you turn to the first page of the picture after the aerial view, this is heading southbound on SR267. The main issue was the height, we are okay with the square footage but the height was to provide the sign to be in the same point of view for the motorist. I apologize the photograph is a little difficult to view but this will make the price available to the motorists without having them to glance over. The setback is approximately 75-80 feet from the actual road frontage and not to mention the other side of the road it is going to be anywhere from 80-95 feet from our freestanding sign.
The next picture I know it is not always the case but the sign will be blocked by oncoming traffic and will be blocked by the person in the next lane. So, they are hoping to propose a sign that is going to give motorists enough time to navigate to the left turn lane so that they can navigate to our site.
The following pages are pictures heading northbound on SR267 and once again you will see the vegetation, which I think is one thing that has changed since this site was approved from the last variances in 1996. The vegetation has matured and it is not done maturing and while that vegetation is not on our site that completely blocks a lot of our wall signage as well as the entire site itself.
Joe mentioned proposing a price changer on the canopy and it is something that we have looked at but due to the setback the motorists will have to completely turn their head off the road to find the price. It is not something that is going to be easily read from motorists traveling due to the speed and the setback as well as due to the letter height. So, that is why we are mainly focusing on this freestanding sign to be our only means of communication because as time goes on and vegetation matures further all of our signs will be blocked on our site besides our freestanding sign.
I realize the main concern and I understood this from a previous variance that we requested in the Town of Plainfield a few years ago. The main concern is setting precedence and I completely agree with you and I understand the reason behind that. But we once again strongly feel that you are able to make a decision depending on the use, the hardships and whether the board feels it is in line with the ordinance, and agrees with the Staff's recommendation or the ordinance itself. We feel this sign will alleviate the confusion and help motorists safely navigate to our site. I don't want to pull the bait and switch but due to the Design Review Committee we realize the pole sign is never going to get approved; it doesn't have a chance, it is not within the ordinance as well as what the Town is trying to implement for all signage on the site. I realize the other gas stations are legal nonconforming and they were under a different ordinance and a different municipality, however, each of these gas stations have numerous signs still and are exceeding the ordinance's height and square footage. We are asking for something that is much smaller than all of these gas stations. We feel like we have ramped down the request a lot; I'm not saying that is something that you are going to look positive on but we feel like this sign is much more in line with the intent in the ordinance. And once again I wanted to remind you that the actual copy area is 68 square feet. If we were to take the allowable freestanding signs, the three different freestanding signs, where the frontage is, we are allowed 48 square feet for each. If we actually took down two feet from the monument, it would still be under what the code is allowed for the square footage for freestanding signs if we were to forego the rest of them. So, we feel foregoing those and proposing one sign that this would solve all of the visibility issues at the site. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Mr. Monnett said on the signs on the corner what are the measurement of the letters, the numerals on the gas prices do you know?
Mr. Forte asked, are you talking about the proposed sign?
Mr. Monnett said no; on the current sign right now.
Mr. Forte said I believe they are actually going to be the same as the new letters. The new letters are two feet and six inches and that might be off an inch or two but those are similar in size. We also wanted to increase the “Thornton's” so that they are going to be able to identify the gas station as a Thornton's and still see the price while adding the diesel selection on the freestanding sign as well. The last thing that we want to do is drop the letters so that it is not going to decrease legibility. It is going to be easier to read and something that they are going to be easily identifiable while traveling on SR267.
Mr. Carlucci said you had mentioned that you would give up the other two-three freestanding signs. That is a pretty small site. Have you scaled this out to see whether you can even get those in there? It's one thing to make an offer but it is another thing to make an offer that you can't get them in anyway because you have driving aisles and you are right up against two roads, Cambridge Way and the other drive that is there. I'm just trying to make sure that you at least attempted to scale this out you could even get them in because otherwise you are making an offer to the BZA that doesn't exist.
Mr. James said the signs have to be separated by at least (inaudible).
Mr. Carlucci said you also have easements in there and you have to be so far back from certain roadways and then you still have traffic and that is a pretty tight site. It is interesting in my household when all of the kids are home, if they see the price at Thornton's and it is the lowest in Town, they are going down there to fill up. Trust me people find out where the lowest price of gas is in Plainfield.
Mr. Forte said as far as the easements and the right-of-ways and the setback of the freestanding sign if the sign is a farther distance then 100 feet from another sign and it is allowed, I believe we would have the option to utilize two more freestanding signs.
Mr. Carlucci said “if”.
Mr. Forte said they have looked at and they can put one on Cambridge Way. Joe I can't recall the setback.
Mr. James said 10 feet.
Mr. Forte said so with it being 10 feet from the right-of-way that would fit within the site plan looking at the scale whether or not you had 100 feet from the edge of the sign to the other edge of the sign. One could be located in the northwest corner of Hartford and Cambridge and then we definitely have more than 100 feet of road frontage on Cambridge. Our goal is not to fill the site with signs. We are just asking for something that is going to be easily read off of SR267.
Mr. Gibbs said, of course, our procedure is to grant variances due to hardship. I don't see anything presented this evening that the relocation and increasing the size and the height of the sign has affected your business.
Mr. Forte said that is something with gas stations as recognized nationwide that displaying their price as well as a new business coming into it as far as a convenience store and impulse purchases is a greater portion of it, 45%-50% larger of the bottom line profits than people going to gas stations no matter what. Everybody wants to see the gas prices but I do realize that there are cell phones and internet and the word of mouth gets it out but I think the main issue is the topography of the site and the vegetation and due to the fact of how far this sign is set back currently from SR267, and I'm talking about setback from where the motorists will actually be driving rather than the right-of-way and now to avoid the encroachment agreement or the permit that we would need if we were within the 20 feet we have moved it farther back to get out of the drainage and utility easement. So, that is something that we want to propose a sign that they can see and it's not going to be too low to the ground due to the distance from SR267 and traffic conditions and the speed limit. So, we feel this is the hardship and why they brought this forward was the site visibility issues.
Mr. Carlucci said when you talk about the vegetation, are you talking about the swale that is adjacent to the west side of the building?
Mr. Forte said I apologize I don't have more photographs but the Woodfire Grill does have a line of trees along there and that is actually not on our property. Due to the vegetation of the building and our site the wall signage is not easily legible and I know it is not going to be like that all year round because the trees are going to lose their leaves, however, that is something that is starting to completely block our building.
Mr. Carlucci said you aren't talking about the swale.
Mr. Forte said no. Coming from the other direction to get the advance notification I know most people in the Town know that Thornton's is there but they do rely heavily on travelers.
Mr. Carlucci asked, did you know that the Woodfire Grill actually extended farther to the west at one time and it was cut down for the current building?
Mr. Forte said no I didn't know that.
Mr. Carlucci asked, is that correct Joe; did they cut that down a little bit or not?
Mr. James said I don't think so.
Mr. Forte said another issue and I apologize I didn't bring this up earlier but it was mentioned that the Woodfire Grill had used a 48 square foot monument along the other roadway and we feel due to the type of use the gas station will be different than a sit down restaurant. Typically people already know they are going to a sit down restaurant; gas stations typically are a completely different buyer. The purchases will be different. Also, the Woodfire Grill doesn't have a direct turnoff as we do so travelers will either be going to that median or they will be going down the south light to get down to the entrance to the Woodfire Grill on the abutting street. I think the design of the sign compliments the area. It is a much more costly sign and I know that is not a reason for hardship but it is also something that we would be willing to drop it down a foot or two more to reduce the square footage but I think once you start dropping it more than two feet it loses its purpose. So, that is another thing that we would be willing to stipulate if this variance was approved.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I have a similar question to Mr. Gibbs. Is the existing sign there as a result of a variance?
Mr. Forte said yes sir.
Mr. Cavanaugh said the current sign exceeds the allowable square footage as a result of the variance and I guess can you help me understand how the hardship has changed since that variance was granted that would warrant increasing the size, the amount that you are requesting?
Mr. Forte said I think the hardship as it has changed is the sizes that have developed over time since this last variance was granted, the conditions like I said the vegetation. You could also consider traffic. I'm sure there is much more traffic along SR267 now but I don't know if it was recognized at that time that this sign while we did increase the square footage, however, the sign will still not be tall enough to be easily read for a safe distance for you to be able to navigate to the site. So, I could agree with you in saying that there is not a lot of changes but these changes and the other wall signs were approved through variances and now those wall signs are considerably blocked so this is really their only form of identification to their site and their entrance. So, this is something that I personally I don't know who handled the previous variance request. I was not in attendance but I feel that the height was overlooked for this sign due to the setback of the roadway. I think the square footage definitely helped and I do realize that we are exceeded but I don't think everything was considered at that time for that variance request.
Mr. Cavanaugh asked, do you know the approximate height of your canopy?
Mr. Forte said I don't have that number ready at hand.
Mr. Cavanaugh asked, 25 feet maybe, something typical?
Mr. Forte said I would say at least 20-25; I would have to agree with you.
Mr. Monnett asked, is there anyone in the audience who would like to speak on this variance request? Being no one coming forward I will close the public portion of this and open it up to our board for further discussion or a possible motion. Personally I don't see a hardship whatsoever. There are canopy signs, which I think are sufficient for height and also it is part of the Gateway Corridor. The businesses there we can't do anything about it; we didn't pick it; they did. What is done is done is my feeling.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I have a question for Mr. James. If I understood correctly earlier, they could have the option of placing a changeable sign on their canopy.
Mr. James said that is correct.
Mr. Gibbs made a motion that the Board of Zoning Appeals deny BZA-09-010 as filed by Site Enhancement Services for Thornton's, Inc. Second by Mr. Cavanaugh. Roll call vote called.
Ms. Duffer – absent
Mr. Cavanaugh – yes
Mr. Gibbs – yes
Mr. Monnett – yes
3-ayes, 0-opposed, 1-absent. Motion carried.
Mr. Monnett said our next petition tonight is continued from a previous hearing, BZA-09-011, United Tavern, Inc.
Mr. James said this is a request for a Special Exception to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at Bubbaz Bar and Grill located at 824 Edwards Drive. Even though they got a Special Exception when this bar and tavern first opened they recently had a change in ownership. So, whenever there is a change of ownership, we have always added the condition that they have to come back and get another Special Exception. So, that is why they are here before you tonight. The original Special Exception was granted in 2006 when the establishment first opened with the condition that it was non-transferable to a subsequent owner/operator. It has recently changed ownership so that is why they are here before you tonight. It is located in the Plainfield Commerce Center, which is zoned General Commercial. It is compatible with surrounding uses. When the Special Exception was granted in 2006, it was granted with four conditions. The conditions were that a liquor license is granted by the Indiana Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, it is non-transferrable, minors cannot be excluded by more than 25% of the gross floor area, and the liquor sales shall not exceed more than 40% annually. I've been working with the petitioner and with their representative. They have filed a petition to transfer the liquor license. The bar area consists only 17.4% of the gross floor area. Since the new owner has been operating the establishment he told me the weekly gross sales have averaged 70% food and 30% liquor. I believe they brought some numbers with them tonight to back that up. There have been some past issues with the previous owner with this establishment. I checked with the alcohol and tobacco commission and no citations have been issued serving minors since the bar was originally opened. However, September 10, 2009 I think the bartender was cited by the Plainfield Police Department. I'm not sure if it was for serving a minor or just allowing a minor to be in the bar area but the owner can explain that to you tonight. When they first opened, the bar was having great success and they were having an overflow of parking situation on weekends but I think that is no longer an issue. So, we have offered the same conditions as the original Special Exception and then considering the establishment's past do you feel like any additional conditions are necessary? With that I will have a seat and the owner and his representative would be glad to answer any questions that you might have.
Mr. Greg Genrich with Bradford and Riley at 333 N. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204 said also present is Mark Gore with United Tavern. Just for a point of clarification in 2006 Mark Gore was the petitioner from United Tavern. After he opened it up he sold it shortly thereafter to Charles Vanover, which did not come before this board to receive an exception.
(Discussion in the background.
Mr. Gore said ours expired and in the end of September we filed a renewal at that time. (Inaudible) provided from the former owner. We approximated the sales to be seven thirty. Based on Mark's operation August/September the food sales have averaged around 63˝% food to alcohol. Hopefully the food is picking up. They are making an effort to push the food again and help to get back to that range but sixty forty was approved by the Town of Plainfield back in 2006. Are there any questions from the board?
Mr. Gibbs said I want to make sure I understand something because I may have misunderstood this. So, Mark opened the store, you opened the business; you turned around and you sold it to a gentleman named Charlie?
Mr. Gore said Charlie Vanover.
Mr. Gibbs said and then you are buying that back.
Mr. Gore said no Charlie fell into default with not only me, it was a contract sale, and the landlord and the landlord actually booted him out and put me in position of the real estate again.
Mr. Gibbs said it doesn't sound like to me that when property left with Mark the first time and it went to Charlie that it was operating in legal conformance was it?
Mr. James said yes we should have brought Charlie back to the board for a Special Exception.
Mr. Gore said we had it in our contract. Of course, he had to get a transfer from the alcohol beverage commission and come down here to the Town of Plainfield and get approval. I asked him a couple of times and he said he was here.
Mr. Monnett said it is my understanding that today 60% of your sales is food.
Mr. Gore said over 60%.
Mr. Monnett said you're real close to the 40% alcohol and then tell me about your procedures that you have in place to assure that there is no service to minors.
Mr. Gore said about three nights a week we have a security person on the door that checks ID. Having family dining you have to check ID quite a bit. The night in question there I'm going to have to presume that he's innocent. It was a very confusing night but the ticket says “sales to a minor”. There was no sale.
Mr. James said (inaudible).
Mr. Gore said I was not there that evening. A lady and a man came in and sat down at a table; it was kind of busy. The server went towards the table and one of them said “Blue Moon and a water”. He went to the bar and got them and came back and sat them on the table and somebody said something and he turned around and the police was there and said we are going to give you a ticket. There was no exchange of money, no credit card was provided, nobody drank any alcohol.
Mr. Monnett said you explained to me the incident. I want to know what your procedures are today to assure that it doesn't happen again.
Mr. Gore said excise police has server training and not all of them have gone through server training from us taking over from this repossession. It has been chaotic down there. We are trying to get everything back in shape. Vendors are owed money; everybody is owed money but we try to send them all to server training. Our policy, of course, is ID, ID, ID all of the time. I've done this 36 years and I've never been found guilty of serving a minor at any of my establishments. I've had 36 bars.
Mr. Carlucci asked, what other businesses like this do you operate?
Mr. Gore said right today we are operating four places. We have had three repossessions with this economy. We are operating Plainfield, Greenfield, Washington Square, far east side of Indianapolis and my wife operates a business in Camby.
Mr. Cavanaugh asked, is it your intent to keep this business in your possession for a certain period of time or are you looking to get to a certain sales level and perhaps sell it again?
Mr. Gore said yes; I'm not a franchise; I'm a licensee and I sale license agreements after I build a store and get it on its feet. I thought Charlie was a good buyer. The first rule of our business is “you must be present to win” and Charlie wouldn't stay with the store.
Mr. Cavanaugh said ultimately you won't be the final proprietor of this business.
Mr. Gore said no but selling anything right now is pretty slow; it's hard to sell a business.
Mr. Carlucci said so somebody will come back in here and get that Special Use because you can't transfer what you have if the board grants it.
Mr. Gore said yes sir and I did have it in my contract that he come here.
Mr. Cavanaugh said there may be some legal technicalities inscriptions but I think the agreement that would be made between this board and the Town would be to the petitioner and in this case it is you. Expecting another individual that you have a separate contract with frankly doesn't mean anything.
Mr. Gore said that is correct.
Mr. Cavanaugh said that is your responsibility to follow through because that is who this variance is with; not someone else a third party but with you or whoever the petitioner would be.
Mr. Gore said I'm sitting here thinking and I even called him one day and I was talking to him and I said what are you doing and he said I'm filling out that paperwork for Plainfield.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I don't recall seeing another petitioner come through. The membership hasn't changed since the original petitioner came through.
Mr. Genrich said (inaudible).
Mr. Gore said it was two weeks.
Mr. Genrich said (inaudible).
Mr. James said the transfer of ownership was so soon after it originally opened that I thought Charlie was the original petitioner. So, there was a mistake there.
Mr. Genrich said I've been under the premise that it had been transferred and it was still in the name of United Tavern. We are here because we want to be a good citizen. There is an intent to eventually sale the bar.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I don't have an issue at all how business transfers ownership. The issue is continuing compliance with regulations of the Town. I believe Mr. Gore has attempted to do that but we just need to make sure that is understood.
Mr. Monnett asked, is there anyone in the audience who would care to speak on this variance for or against? Being no one coming forward I will close the public portion of this hearing and open it up to the board for further discussion or a possible motion.
Mr. Gibbs asked, do you have a problem if we would grant this? Somebody will be back in here next month or two months for the same thing and the infraction I don't know. I wasn't there; I don't know but there is a question there to the police officer because he had written a citation.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I think any establishment in the Town that serves alcohol has an opportunity for an infraction. From my perspective (inaudible). However, I think it is noteworthy in this instance that transfer of ownership needs to be handled correctly so that this board or the other reviewing board has an opportunity to discuss how business is operated (inaudible). I think the position of the board is pretty clear on the expectation that whoever the proprietor is is responsible for getting a Special Exception. (Inaudible). I would move that the Board of Zoning Appeals approve BZA-09-011 as filed by United Taverns, Inc. requesting a Special Exception to allow the serving of alcoholic beverages for on site consumption for Bubbaz Bar and Grill at 824 Edwards Dr. zoned GC subject to the following conditions:
1. A license to serve alcohol is granted by the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.
2. This approval is limited to Bubbaz Bar and Grill and shall not be transferred to a subsequent owner/operator of the establishment.
3. Pursuant to Indiana Code and policy of the establishment minors shall not be excluded from more than twenty-five (25) percent of the gross floor area.
4. Liquor sales shall not exceed more than forty (40) percent of annual gross revenue. Records shall be presented to the Planning and Zoning Director at the time of annual liquor license renewal as evidence of compliance.
Mr. Monnett said I would like to add one condition and maybe Joe or Jim could help me. Can we put a stipulation in there that if there is a sale, that you need to be notified within how many days or what do you gentlemen think? So, that the Town knows actually what is going on.
Mr. James said 30 days after the sale.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I would be in favor of that stipulation at the sale of the business and the transaction closes. So, then if we give them 30 days from that transaction to notify the Town, then it seems to me there would be 30 days of non-compliance.
Mr. Monnett said that may be a can of worms but I had another question. Is there any entertainment now or will there be in the future?
Mr. Monnett said there is now as far as bands.
Mr. Gore said we have a band two or three Saturday nights. We have a DJ on Friday nights starting after nine and Wednesday night after nine. I think that is what I presented when I was here a couple of years ago or almost two years ago.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I think the alternative to further conditions it is satisfactory so it sounds good. I would also add condition five as follows:
5. Prior to finalization of sale of the business a Special Exception must be granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals to the new operator.
Mr. Chapman said I don't think you can condition someone's sale for approval by this board.
Mr. James said how about prior to each sale the director shall be notified within 30 days of the closing.
Mr. Genrich said just as a suggestion; request that the petitioner or if the sale occurs, that concurrent with the application of the transfer of the liquor license that the petitioner also file the Special Exception with the Town of Plainfield. That way you do it at the same time. At least you get the same process at the same time.
Mr. Chapman said I think that is fine and you will still have to approve or disapprove at the appropriate time.
Mr. Cavanaugh asked, do we have that recorded? Do we need to include it as a condition?
Mr. James said (inaudible).
Mr. Cavanaugh said I will restate the fifth condition as follows:
5. The petition for a Special Exception must be filed with the Planning and Zoning at the same time that any request for transfer of the liquor license is filed with the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.
Second by Mr. Gibbs. Roll call vote called.
Ms. Duffer – absent
Mr. Cavanaugh – yes
Mr. Gibbs – yes
Mr. Monnett – yes
3-ayes, 0-opposed, 1-absent. Motion carried.
Mr. Monnett said our next petition is BZA-09-013, Justin Dorsey.
Mr. James said this is a variance request for a trash enclosure. They have a zero rear and side yard setback at 118 E. Main Street zoned Town Center. The site has a two-story apartment and office building on it. The petitioner submitted an ILP I think back in 2007, parking lot improvements, sidewalks, landscaping and trash enclosure. With the parking lot improvements the trash enclosure could not be sited on the lot, entire on the lot and comply with the five foot setbacks that are required for an accessory structure to the rear and the side. So, the proposed location is across the lot in an old alley right-of-way. That is why they need the variances. With a trash enclosure in this old alley right-of-way we have to vacate the alley or get an encroachment agreement by the Town Council.
Here is the site at 118 E. Main Street. It is zoned Town Center. This is the site plan. Here is the apartment building. They are going to stripe and add to the parking spaces and it is going to be paved right now. This is all gravel. He is going to do a sidewalk around the building. He wants to put the trash enclosure back in here. In fact, he has a dumpster back here right now so it would be right in here. This is the old alley right-of-way. It terminates at the property line and it is not a thru alley. This right in here is the proportion that is actually alley. He is going to add landscaping. The landscaping complies. The building material for the trash enclosure complies with the Town Center standards. Here is a photograph of the back of the building. They will put the trash enclosure back here where the dumpster sits now. Here is the back of the building and you can see that it is all gravel. This will all be paved and with the sidewalk and the stripped parking spaces.
The encroachment agreement was granted by the Town Council on August 5th. The reason why he has delayed this project is because we needed to coordinate drainage with the U.S. 40 streetscape project so that has been done. The trash enclosure design and material complies with the Town Center standards. All of the improvements, the trash enclosure, parking lot drainage, landscaping and sidewalks should improve and enhance the area. The location of the trash enclosure should not interfere with any traffic circulation in that area. Mr. Dorsey is here if you have some questions for him.
Mr. Justin Dorsey at 1963 SR236, Danville said the project like Joe said has been delayed because of the Town Center project and engineering concerns. I don't know the window of timeframe on this process due to the economic requirements as far as getting it done but I would like to go ahead and get it approved so that we could execute it when the funds are available.
Mr. Monnett asked, how long have you owned the property?
Mr. Dorsey said since 1992.
Mr. Gibbs said I don't have any comments or questions except to say that these are great improvements.
Mr. Monnett asked, is there anyone in the audience who would care to speak on this petition.
Ms. Marsha Lundy said my husband and I own the property at 108 N. East Street. The only concern that I have is the drainage. I don't know if they can switch it to the back of the house. The house to the right there is that two-story that is on the other side of north East Street but the one that has the back porch that is the property that my husband and I own. It is a rental property so I just have a little bit of concern as far as the drainage to the back of our rental property. That is the only concern that I have. We have a crawl space and it is a very very old house. As far as the improvement I think is badly needed but that is the only thing that concerns me at this point is the drainage because I know now with the dumpster when the wind and there is trash in the back of the house and so on and so forth.
Mr. Monnett said I will ask Joe because I'm sure the Town Engineer has looked at this so if you want to help address that for Ms. Lundy.
Mr. James said that is why the project has been delayed so they could coordinate the storm sewer that is going to be required for this project in with the U.S. 40 streetscape project. So, our Town Engineer, Tim Belcher has been working with Mr. Dorsey to coordinate the drainage issue.
Mr. Monnett said I thank you for coming forward; more people need to do that but I wanted to at least give you an answer tonight. I'm sure they have looked at it but I just wanted you to know. Is there anyone else that would like to come forward?
Mr. Dorsey said (inaudible).
Mr. Carlucci said Mr. Dorsey you might want to get closer to the microphone.
Mr. Dorsey said there is an old inlet in this area and that will not receive much water right now and part of the Town's role in this is they are going to extend a new storm sewer in part of the separation of the sanitary and stormwater to try to facilitate that runoff.
Ms. Lundy said (inaudible).
Mr. Dorsey said we tried to coordinate with ………
Ms. Lundy said (inaudible).
Mr. Dorsey said we tried to coordinate with some of the other business owners to try to make one dumpster enclosure because there are three dumpsters right there in that proximity.
Ms. Lundy said (inaudible).
Mr. Dorsey said there was no one else who wanted to participate that so I chose to go ahead and submit it on my own for our own site.
Mr. Monnett said with no one else coming forward I will close this to the public and open it up to our board for any discussion or a possible motion.
Mr. Gibbs said I commend Mr. Dorsey for the improvements on that piece of property and with that I move that the Board of Zoning Appeals approve BZA-09-013 as filed by Justin Dorsey requesting a variance to allow a trash enclosure to have a zero side and rear yard setback at 118 E. Main Street subject to the following conditions:
1. Substantial compliance with the site plan, landscaping plan and elevations file dated September 25, 2009.
Second by Mr. Cavanaugh. Roll call vote called.
Ms. Duffer – absent
Mr. Cavanaugh – yes
Mr. Gibbs – yes
Mr. Monnett – yes
3-ayes, 0-opposed, 1-absent. Motion carried.
Mr. Monnett said our next petition is BZA-09-015, Gary Callahan.
Ms. Sprague said this request is to allow a Variance of Use to have a retail component in a warehouse in an I-2 District. The site is primarily surrounded by I-2 and some Neighborhood Retail. Basically the plan is to store the auction items to be auctioned for most of the week. So, primarily it would be used as a warehouse except on Saturday they plan to have an actual auction at the same location. From three to six they wanted to have the location opened for people to view the items and then from six to ten to have it opened for the actual auction.
Here is the location just off of Andico Road. I will have a photograph later that shows where the buildings are. They are obviously pretty new. This is the photograph of the building. The tenant's space is actually going to be in the northern half of this particular building.
The site technically has enough parking for a retail use. We don't have specifically auctions listed in our parking requirements of the ordinance, however, I didn't look up a gathering type for assembly or anything but the site has more parking than what is required as long as the other tenants aren't using it. From what I looked up they shouldn't be at that point and time. The other tenant out there on that particular property is Flip Zone and the other businesses they have out there and their latest item that I found on line Saturday was opened until three-thirty instead of three so there would be a slight overlap of a half-hour possibly on Saturdays. The property owner, however, owns several other properties in the area. I have a map of that showing where they could use some of that parking.
Also, I associate auctions with the auctioneer and I don't know how loud the auctioneer or any loud speakers they would have but with the closing time of ten p.m. I just wondered if that might be an issue. Then also the fire marshal has mentioned he would have to check it over to see if they could make it available for an assembly use.
Here is the site and its surrounding properties. The property owner actually owns all of the properties outlined in yellow. I counted those up and there are 16 parking spaces right around up against the building where the tenant would be and then up to 121 other parking spaces in those other lots. The main one is the BMV has 49 other parking spaces but in that same exact lot just not where the petitioner is located or in addition to the 16 where the petitioner is located there are 43 other spaces on that lot as well. I had a recommendation for an additional commitment to make sure that the fire marshal's issues get covered if you decide to approve this petition. I know the petitioner is here if you have any questions.
Mr. Carlucci said as far as I can tell there is no parking allowed on Andico Drive is that correct?
Ms. Sprague said right. As far as I know they don't intend to have parking there.
Mr. Carlucci said when you look at scheduled events, i.e., tournaments and things like that, I'm kind of less concerned about the area around it because I don't think there is a lot of residential. Their speakers are pretty big inside, correct?
Ms. Sprague said yes; there wasn't any plan to have any outdoor activities.
Mr. Carlucci said I brought this up with Joe but if they are going to use other parking that they control, then they have to show us a signed agreement to show with the owner that they can use those other spaces. I'm always going down there on Saturday and no matter how many times I go down there the BMV is closed on Saturdays.
Ms. Sprague said they are supposed to be opened until 12:30.
Mr. James said they are closed on Mondays.
Ms. Sprague said they are opened late on Tuesdays.
Mr. Carlucci said in either case there has to be an agreement that they can present to the Plan Commission that they can use these other spaces.
Mr. Gary Callahan at 1023 E. Main Street said I just wanted to bring up that we are not a new business to the area. We own Shelly's Closet of Treasures on U.S. 40 and this is simply a way to bring a close to all of the sales that we do for folks on consignment there. So, after 120 days the items go there and several estates are coming across our calendar. So, we are helping the current community to make money on their items and it has been very fruitful and we are blessed for having it but I just wanted you to know that we are not a brand new business in the community.
Mr. Monnett said Mr. Carlucci mentioned about the tenants and property owners as far as getting a written agreement from them for the parking is that an issue for you?
Mr. Callahan said not at all. Bill owns the properties and he's in partnership with the person who owns the BMV and so forth so he would be working with those people. And I have spoken with the current tenant, Stephanie who owns the Flip Zone and so forth and she said there would not be a problem. I appreciate your concern but it doesn't sound like that is going to be an issue with sleepovers, etc.
Mr. Bill DeLong at 2580 S. CR800E said myself and Brian Kempf own the property in question as well as the property due west of that, which is currently Integrity Rotation and Molding, which is not operational on Saturday and especially Saturday evening. It never has been since it has been opened. Brian Kempf, my partner with KDS Real Estate owns the site where the license branch is. We have discussed allowing parking in there during closed hours of the license branch so there is not an issue with allowing either one of those properties as far as being in access. We also have a concern with people parking on the street and we don't want them parking in the grass and I don't think that is going to be an issue providing that we make sure people move and I think they will comply with that as well.
Mr. Carlucci said it might not be a bad idea if you are going to use one of these properties, to put a sign up and direct them to go in there.
Mr. DeLong said we can do that. On days of auction I don't see why we couldn't put a small sign out front for parking in the license branch or into Integrity.
Mr. Gibbs asked, do you have a letter from the BMV that leases that building from you today that says that they agree with this?
Mr. DeLong said we don't have a letter from BMV but as a property owner I don't know that we would have to have a letter or from Integrity. We own the property and according to our lease we control those properties so I'm not sure that we would really require that, however, if the board requires us to do so, I'm sure we could do that.
Mr. Gibbs said as Mr. Chapman stated I'm sure it depends on the lease.
Mr. Carlucci said I'm sure if the BMV doesn't like it, they will let you know.
Mr. Monnett asked, what about signage on the building? Has anything been discussed about that as far as advertising?
Ms. Sprague asked, did you bring me information on that or just talk about it?
Mr. Monnett said it is farther down the road.
Ms. Sprague said they are allowed to put wall signage on three sides if they want to and I think the property owner has a ground sign that they could put a panel on or they would be allowed to if they don't have a ground sign.
Mr. James said (inaudible).
Ms. Sprague said 10% of each facade they could have a sign.
Mr. James said (inaudible).
Mr. Cavanaugh said I have a lot of questions. First I want to say I don't mean to make this too painful and I appreciate the fact that you work here locally already and trying to improve a business you are getting established. I think we all know that is hard to do in the best of times and you being successful and are growing in this economy I'm very respectful of that. I don't mean to sound like I'm raking you over the coals too much but I'm very concerned that in our desire to help your business move forward that we may create a situation that its longevity is very tentative. I don't know if Mr. DeLong or Mr. Kempf could ever promise that they won't sell those properties and that there won't be a new owner there and you might not need a new agreement for parking. Have you looked at other alternatives? It appears that the primary site has quite a bit of undeveloped property that may be able to provide the parking required for this specific use. It may not be attractive to everybody involved but it looks like there may be an alternative.
Mr. DeLong said he and I did discuss that. He owns the lot in the yellow, I guess it would be north of the property that he said he would make accessible if we needed to go there. It is a grass field so I would rather not do that initially.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I don't think parking is allowed in a grass field in the Town of Plainfield.
Mr. DeLong said it may not be so we would have to make some modifications as well but you just seemed pretty open to coming up with an answer even if we paid to pave it or whatever was necessary for the Town.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I'm concerned that we may allow a business to take place that is dependent upon site conditions on two detached properties. I need some serious convincing that is a good thing to let happen.
Mr. DeLong said as I heard earlier amendments can be made so I assume that if it is said that should this change hands, I have to come to the board again and tell you what I'm going to do to modify that.
Mr. Callahan said I'm not sure there are parking spaces that are even necessary. I was under the impression that she stated that there was enough parking spaces on site without utilizing the other. We are offering these other two properties as an option if this does become larger than what we anticipate. But the actual property that his building is on that he will be leasing does have enough parking spaces available for retail, is that correct?
Mr. James said (inaudible).
Ms. Sprague said on that property there are 43 plus 16 so 59. The auditorium or assembly halls are listed as one parking space for every four seats so 50 would be required in that case so they have 59 on the full lot.
Mr. Cavanaugh said help me understand; during their peak usage say that they are fully occupied, this will be Saturday afternoons sometime between three and ten. If I understand correctly, their required parking usage and any other potential usage of the facilities on that specific property there is adequate parking for all uses.
Ms. Sprague asked, for all uses at the same time?
Mr. Cavanaugh said yes.
Ms. Sprague said no because I believe that the Flip Zone uses a lot of parking spaces.
Mr. Cavanaugh said there is about a half hour overlap.
Ms. Sprague said right from their regulars and not with any special events happening.
Mr. DeLong said Gary's plan is to…………yours is a preview from three to ………
Mr. Callahan said three to six would be a preview and (inaudible).
Mr. DeLong said typically on a preview there are very few at a preview. I have been to many, many auctions and typically they would come within an hour before the auction and then go through the auction afterwards. So, his actual peak time I would assume would be from five o'clock on so there really would not be any overlap between the Flip Zone unless they have a special event. At that time I think Gary and the neighbor would work that situation out. No one wants that issue to be a problem.
Mr. Cavanaugh said that is dependent upon Flip Zone still being in operation but what if there is a different tenant? (Inaudible). I understand there is available backup parking adjacent to the site but I just want to make sure that I have a really good understanding of the operational conditions that take place out there for this proposed use. Mr. Callahan you mentioned that you are also doing estate sales?
Mr. Callahan said yes.
Mr. Cavanaugh said that would include furniture, appliances………
Mr. Callahan said that is what we would be selling.
Mr. Cavanaugh said it might be fair to presume that if I came in to buy furniture, I might come in with a trailer to haul that off.
Mr. Callahan said correct.
Mr. Cavanaugh said so along with individual parking spaces that we are talking about there may need to be some consideration for larger vehicles pulling trailers.
Mr. Callahan said as part of our auction it is going to be advertised as well that we recommend that all of the larger vehicles go to the overflow parking for that reason for the safety of everybody coming around there. There are two overhead doors that we can arrange the pickups at the end of the auction. We won't allow pickups prior to the end of the auction.
Mr. Cavanaugh said so the auction at 10:00 p.m. and all loading would take place after 10:00 p.m.
Mr. Callahan said yes.
Mr. James asked, do you have an auction every weekend?
Mr. Callahan said that is our plan to have one every weekend.
Mr. Carlucci said they wouldn't necessarily be estate sales.
Mr. Callahan said we basically call it assigned auction because the estates are going to assign through as well so it is actually going to be called consigned auctions. So, several people as well as the overflow in our store after it reaches 120 days it will just be a consignment flowing through to a final sale after that 120 days.
Mr. Carlucci said this goes with what Mr. Cavanaugh was talking about but this issue came up many years ago with the new library. They did not have enough parking spaces on site. I'm not trying to be negative here at all but I remember when Warren Shrum was on the board and they wanted to use parking across the street at the Baptist Church as part of the parking. The BZA said absolutely not; they did not want kids walking back and forth across Simmons Street. Even though they had an agreement in hand they said no because of the conditions of that situation. I think Mr. Cavanaugh makes an excellent point; we are not guaranteed the next day hardly anymore. We just go day to day here and we are all day to day but those agreements that you have to have that is why they have to be put in writing that you specifically get to use those sites and if there is any indication that those agreements are going to lapse, then you should immediately inform the BZA because now you have a problem. As long as the properties are willing to do that and you can control where people move, I'm sure the first couple of times it will be a little more difficult, and everybody gets used to how you do things it may be better. But I think it is just like we were trying to get through with the gentleman from Bubbaz. He didn't do himself any favor by what he did coming in and selling it two weeks after he got it and he didn't bother to tell the Town. So, you don't have a great mountain to climb here but I think before you open to get an occupancy from the Town at a minimum I'm guessing that you will have to either have an agreement signed in writing and be very specific so that we know exactly what you are entitled to. Because once this thing starts nobody wants to go back there, and trust me I will go back there, and if I see all cars parking on the driveway, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be calling KDS and you and saying this is unacceptable. And the Town doesn't want to give a bunch of tickets and making them feel like they are not welcomed here. The ordinance does allow you to use off-site parking but it has to be by an agreement and those agreements have to be submitted to the Director of the Plan Commission so that you can verify that you have those spaces.
Mr. Callahan said I will go further too and I actually bought sign equipment and I will talk to Joe and Jill further about that, temporary signs during the time the auction is going on that notes additional parking as well as no parking allowed on the street.
Mr. Carlucci asked, do you have a website?
Mr. Callahan said I do.
Mr. Carlucci said there is another good place.
Mr. Callahan said we will be doing a lot of advertising obviously and a lot of these points are going to be put into the advertising since it is going to be new to everybody.
Mr. Gibbs said you are going to handle estate auctions.
Mr. Callahan said yes.
Mr. Gibbs said so with the estate auctions you get boats and multiple vehicles. How are you going to handle those? Where are those going?
Mr. Callahan said there is actually an overhead door there that we would pull the item right into the auction ring, if you will, on the northeast part. There is a car cart in the parking lot but we can bring it around that door and back it in there long enough to bid on it. You can see it from here but there is a white vehicle back there but I was going to park the vehicles there before anybody even came there so we would have access to bring it there and auction it and take it right back to the same place.
Mr. Gibbs said now we have storage kind of on the outside or are you going to take the auction on the outside?
Mr. Callahan said no everything will be inside when it is auctioned off. There probably won't be more than one vehicle per auction. There won't be a clutter of boats and vehicles.
Mr. James said you will have temporary outdoor storage (inaudible) auction.
Mr. Callahan said yes. Typically we would leave it at the house until the day of the auction for the safety of the vehicles as well and then bring it there on auction day.
Mr. Monnett said Bill had brought up earlier the concern regarding speakers on the outside of the building.
Mr. Callahan said not at all.
Mr. Monnett said but what you just said is the overhead door would be opened during that auction.
Mr. Callahan said long enough to pull the vehicle in and shut the door again but I'm not sure what size that is; it is huge; eight foot by 16 for easy clearance coming in and out and it would be right there. And the folks actually sit on the opposite end of the building and the speaker is on the opposite end of the building. But the door would be closed and the vehicle shut off, of course, but the door would be closed while the speakers are going.
Mr. Monnett said so if this did get approved, you are telling me there will be no speakers on the outside of the building and all doors have to remain shut at all time during the auction hours.
Mr. Callahan said correct. We realize in getting this setup there are residential areas in the area as well.
Mr. Monnett said I'm very familiar with the auction business; the preview period I think we need to knock that down less than that especially with the Flip Zone in there but the original 3:30-6:00 or whatever it was.
Mr. Callahan said it is already in my mind for four o'clock.
Mr. Monnett said if there is a preview, I would change it to four to six or even less.
Mr. Callahan said it's like Bill said most of the folks just show up an hour before anyway so it is realistic that the crowd will start showing up at five. There will be very few stragglers between four and five but I would like to have it starting at four.
Mr. Gibbs said Joe do we have any businesses on this site that operate past ten o'clock?
Ms. Sprague asked, in the industrial area? Not to my knowledge but I don't necessarily know. I just checked the ones that the property owner owns.
Mr. Gibbs said so in this case we have a chance (inaudible).
Ms. Sprague said for the loading it sounds like yes.
Mr. DeLong said to my knowledge on Saturday evenings there are no businesses (inaudible). John Anderson has a building back there that is a machine shop and they typically do not work Saturdays. Integrity does not work Saturdays unless it is during the day. They have been there for four years and have never worked a Saturday evening that I know of. Jeco Plastics are the same thing; they have not worked on a Saturday.
Mr. Carlucci asked, what about the Environmental?
Mr. DeLong I don't believe they are on Saturday evenings at all. I don't think they are there on Saturdays.
Mr. Carlucci said (inaudible).
Mr. DeLong said I'm not sure what he does but I've never seen anybody there Saturday evenings back there. Other than that the gentleman that is right across from Integrity I don't think they work Saturdays at all, the place where heavy equipment is at. And then Brian's other building behind that, the sign company, there is no one in there that works Saturday evenings. To answer your question I don't think anyone in that whole area works on Saturdays.
Mr. James said the post office is there.
Mr. Monnett said I can guarantee they are not working at ten o'clock. Is there anyone in the audience who would care to speak on this petition? Being no one coming I will close the public portion of this hearing and open it up for discussion or a possible motion.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I think to make sure there is additional parking available as needed would best be covered in the form of an easement document or some type of an agreement. I think there needs to be some type of an agreement between the property and the owners and the tenant and that needs to be presented to the Director of Planning. (Inaudible).
Mr. Carlucci said (inaudible). My feeling is I know in the ordinance they do talk about parking agreements in there somewhere unless they totally took it out and I didn't notice.
Ms. Sprague said development incentive.
Mr. Carlucci said but we can require a parking agreement and try to give the petitioner some direction on what should be in there.
Mr. James said it could be recorded within so many days.
Mr. Monnett said I really have some big concerns about traffic flow in that parking lot and now that we are pushing that outside and putting that requirement on other pieces of properties. I'm very concerned about that. I'm also concerned about the hours of operations being late in the evening and the potential for larger vehicles going considerably in the night being that close to residential.
Mr. James said (inaudible).
Mr. Monnett said it is to the west.
Mr. James said (inaudible).
Mr. Carlucci said I recall again one of the things that businesses in Andico were concerned about is you have a residential area and then they complain about the noise like Mr. Clossey has a construction business. I know he is not real busy right now. They typically get out early in the morning and rev up the engines and leave the site. What we tried to get at with the developer was these people that are already here have a right to continue to do their business and you shouldn't complain not only about people that are there already doing business but the farmer that farms next to the subdivision because they were already existing uses. So, it is always that kind of balance. There is a small cul-de-sac on that side and some houses along that roadway back there. (Inaudible).
Mr. Callahan said I don't anticipate any large vehicles other than a truck or trailer or van. Typically right now there are semis that run up and down Andico Road. (Inaudible). On the very back side fire trucks, ambulances, police cars go back there on a continuous basis. (Inaudible).
Mr. Carlucci said is that a radio provide, is that what is back there?
Mr. Callahan said yes. (Inaudible).
Mr. Monnett said I think that is part of the concern but I think also part of the concern in my mind is we are still having trucks and traffic coming to a place where we have kids right there in the parking lot.
Mr. Carlucci said again I think (inaudible) because those were not permitted uses at the time were they?
Mr. James said that is correct.
Mr. Carlucci said but typically the reason having had a son that was in gymnastics for a long time, and he has the knees to show for it, most of these gymnastic buildings are located in industrial parks because they need the height of the ceiling. I know we have granted variances in there just to get the Flip Zone on that site too.
Mr. James said we amended the ordinance to allow gymnastics in the I-2 District because they needed the height of the building. It was a Special Exception.
Mr. Carlucci said you need to come up to the mic.
Mr. Callahan said there is going to be 16 foot straight trucks; that is probably the largest you are going to get. They come in to get a couple of couches or a dresser or something like that. That is probably the largest that you are going to get. I drive my truck in there everyday and my guys are very aware of the kids when we are dropping off items there. They know to go slow through and it is very maneuverable. There are a lot of parents coming and going all of the time and my 16 foot straight truck I go in there very easily. You can see all directions in that parking lot. The children shouldn't be in there the time that we are operating but we are very aware that they are there.
Mr. Gibbs said and another concern is once the auction is over when is the cut-off time?
Mr. Callahan said we have a lot of ex-football players that work with us that will make it very fast.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I think they might even be anxious to get home after ten o'clock.
Mr. Callahan said that too. If you have gone to an auction, you see that it is a very fast pace. Everybody is getting their stuff out of there and leaving. They are not just hanging around and getting 10-15 trucks at a time in that area.
Mr. Monnett said I understand the business and the concept and I'm all for it; the problem that I have is the location I think. That is my biggest concern. I think that is what it comes down to for me. I'm not against the business and the hours in that area concerns me.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I would ask our Staff if we were to grant a variance with conditions, and I think we all have an idea of what those might be, and this use ends up being problematic for the Town with traffic, with overcrowding in the parking lots, with complaints from residences, what recourse does the Town have? Once the variance is granted, that horse is out of the barn; that is not going to change.
Mr. Carlucci said (inaudible). I certainly think you can limit the timeframe initially for the variance and that, for example, if in three or four months you find out it is not working and there have been complaints, it is over with.
Mr. Callahan said I think that is fair because for instance the PA system is going to be shut off before the doors are opened so once the doors are opened and the loading is happening there is not going to be excess noise. The only light I doubt would be a problem.
Ms. Shelly Callahan at 1023 E. Main Street, Plainfield said the one thing I wanted to add is we have been very fortunate with the Town of Plainfield. The people come in and it is like an overwhelming response with how excited they are that we are there and how happy they are that we are there. We have had tons of new friendships with a lot of the elderly people in Town. We are growing really, really fast. That is the problem that we are coming into because with us starting this business this isn't something where we went to the bank and borrowed money for this business. This is just us putting our money right back into the business to grow it. Not to say that is your problem or anything but obviously we have to do what we can at the time. We have already talked to Bill. Even though we are signing a lease on this particular property he realizes that it is not our ideal location. We eventually want to find a different place in Plainfield to where we still stay in the same neighborhood with our same customer base but that we are going to need some place bigger that is more suitable for exactly what we want to do. So, we realize that and this is not like a long-term place that we want to be. We have been going in and doing a little bit of modifications to the auction house in hopes that it will get passed today because we are overflowing at the seams and we need an outlet to be able to get rid of some of these things. We didn't put in anything permanently. Everything is able to be picked up and moved in hopes that this will take off as well as we think it is going to. If that is the case, this won't be the ideal location for long-term anyway. Bill already understands that. We already have had the conversation with the landlord that we have to do what we can afford to do right now and then later as the time comes we would like to get a larger location that we would be able to have a little more flexibility with.
Mr. James said I think we could put a condition that they come back in in six months and we review the circumstances and if they are not living up to their end of the deal, the board can vote to revoke the Special Exception.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I think I'm most comfortable with that. I don't know what the time limit would be to get there. From my perspective I was thinking a longer period; perhaps 12 months.
Mr. Callahan said well I will tell you that we are not in business to fail so if that is what is put upon us, we will live up to it; I guarantee that.
Mr. Cavanaugh said my thought is it might take awhile for this entire situation and business use to mature and establish in a regular pattern. Does the board have any other comments?
Mr. Monnett said I may be willing to go along with a review but I like the six months at the longest.
Mr. Carlucci said that would get us into two seasons (inaudible) cold and dark early (inaudible) you tend to hear less things. Six months would get us to spring of next year, at least until April (inaudible) actively outside as opposed to actively inside.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I'm prepared to make a motion.
Mr. Monnett asked, in your motion are you comfortable with stating also with the six months?
Mr. Cavanaugh said (inaudible). I move that the Board of Zoning Appeals approve BZA-09-015 as filed by Gary Callahan requesting a Variance of Use to allow an auction house in the I-2 District at 910 Andico Road subject to the following conditions:
1. Any noise from the auction house shall be restricted so that nearby residents are not disturbed.
2. The Variance of Use is nontransferable to a subsequent owner/operator of the business at this site.
3. The approval be obtained by the fire marshal for use as an area of assembly.
4. Signed documents by the property owner and the tenant describing the allowances for parking on additional properties be delivered to the Director of Planning.
5. Outside storage be in compliance with all I-2 standards.
6. There will be no speakers on the outside of the building or property.
7. Exterior loading doors remain shut during auction hours.
8. Preview and auction hours shall not overlap with those of the adjacent tenant space. The intent is that preview cannot take place during normal operating hours of the Flip Zone or any other tenant in that space.
9. This grant is of a temporary nature and will be reviewed after six months at the regular Board of Zoning Appeals review and if conditions are found to be unsatisfactory concerning the operation of this facility, that this variance may be revoked.
Second by Mr. Monnett. Roll call vote called.
Ms. Duffer – absent
Mr. Cavanaugh – yes
Mr. Gibbs – no
Mr. Monnett – yes
2-ayes, 1-opposed, 1-absent. Motion not approved.
Mr. Carlucci said the motion is not approved and also the motion is not denied. This doesn't happen very often but I think what it means is that it is eligible to be voted on at the next meeting when there are more members here.
Mr. James said that is correct; it is continued.
Mr. Carlucci said I might suggest that is a good opportunity to get some of these other details worked out and then come back to the next meeting. I don't think it will have to be re-noticed or anything like that; we will just put it back on the agenda. If some of these items can get worked out, it may enhance the approval process. It is not a “no” and it is not a “yes” and that's what can happen. As the attorney for the BZA, Mr. Chapman indicated you had a choice to delay to the next meeting when you had more members present and you chose to go forward.
OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS
Mr. Gibbs made a motion to adjourn. Second by Mr. Cavanaugh. Motion carried.