The Board of Zoning Appeals met on Monday, March 15, 2004 at 7:30
p.m. In attendance were Mr. Monnett, Mr. Blevins, Mr. Shrum, Mr. Haase and Mr. Matrana.
ROLL CALL/DETERMINATION OF QUORUM
Mr. Carlucci administered the roll call.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Monnett made a motion to approve the February 19, 2004
minutes of the Plainfield Board of Zoning Appeals as submitted. Second by Mr. Haase. Motion carried.
OATH OF TESTIMONY
Mr. Daniel administered the Oath of Testimony.
Mr. Matrana reviewed the Guidelines Governing the Conduct of
Public Hearings. The Lincoln Bank has requested to be withdrawn. Mr.
Higbee could you tell us about that?
Mr. Higbee said after reviewing plans for a variance for a drivethru
facility on SR267 we were able to determine that minor adjustments
could be made to the plan that would avoid the need for variances.
Lincoln Bank has made those changes to their plans and, therefore,
didn’t need the variances anymore and requested to withdraw the
Mr. Matrana said also I see that Andy Mohr Chevrolet has requested a continuance. Do we need to have a motion and vote on that?
Mr. Higbee said yes we do. They had a new attorney come into the
picture not long before this meeting. The attorney needed some time to get up-to-speed on the project and requested a continuance for that purpose.
Mr. Matrana said at this time I would like to have a motion to
see if we would like to continue the Andy Mohr Chevrolet BZA-04-006.
Mr. Haase made a motion to grant a continuance to Andy Mohr
Chevrolet for BZA-04-006. Second by Mr. Shrum. Motion carried.
Mr. Matrana said at this time we are going to review BZA-04-005,
the Wal-Mart variance. Mr. Higbee could you please tell us about that.
Mr. Higbee said this is a Variance of Development Standards request to permit the absence of foundation plantings on the northbuilding facade out at the proposed Wal-Mart Super Center. I would like to make a correction on page one of my Staff Report. I copied an address from a previous report and it should actually say the 2300 block of East Main Street on your report, if you haven’t noted that already. I would note that this project has already gone to the Plan Commission and received Architectural Review and Primary Plat approval recently. This is what I would call a minor detail following the approvals that have already happened. The reason being that Wal-Mart with the way their design works and the traffic that they anticipate at their site did not want to put foundation plantings along that north facade of their building. They say that the unique characteristics of their type of retail would be heavy traffic in that area and would cause maintenance problems and probably the appearance and the ability to survive for that landscaping would be affected. So, they didn’t want to put those foundation plantings so close to the building. As an alternative, what they have offered to do is put a row of planting
areas near the south end of the parking lot 40 to 60 feet from the
building. You have the plans in your packet. That doesn’t show real
well but at least it gives you a general idea of the shape of the site. You have in this in your packet and there is also an easel there. This would be Main Street here on the side of the site. Clarks Creek Road is here and this is Shady Lane here. I could work on blowing that up for you if you want me to but the building is right in this area of the site. What you see is the parking areas north of the building and west of the building. Our ordinance requires a number of different kinds of landscape plantings. One is for foundation plantings for the building. This is the north facade, the area in question, right here. They are providing required facade plantings here on the west and here on the east. They are not required on the south because that is the rear of a main center building. Our ordinance exempts that. But they are required here and as I explained, they didn’t want to put them there. So, if you look closely on your plans, you will see a row here of parking islands. There are seven of them that they have compensated for that. As a matter of fact, if you compare the square footage of those islands in the amount of planting material in those islands, they have actually offered to exceed what they would have to have put in the foundation planting area if they had put it there. That is what your Staff Report says.
I asked a couple of questions in your report about whether this
alternative accomplishes the intent of our landscaping provisions for
foundation plantings. And whether or not this meets the findings of
fact to demonstrate an unnecessary hardship. I would be happy to
answer any questions that you have.
Mr. Ben Comer said I’m the local counsel for the Wal-Mart office at 71 W. Marion St., Danville, Indiana. Mr. Higbee has done a good job of summarizing this. I would just like to bring a couple of points to
your attention. Wal-Mart brings you this request and has this design
without landscaping along the front based on experience. They have
many many stores and their experience is that the foundation plantings simply do not survive due to the foot traffic and people walking in it and placing carts in it, etc. for various reasons. For that reason it doesn’t make sense to go through that exercise of putting them there knowing what is going to happen. They are certainly not asking to get by without plantings because all of their other landscaping exceeds the ordinance. In fact, what we are proposing, the amount exceeds the ordinance. The location is not exactly where the ordinance wants it. It is out in the front edge of the parking lot. That is the justification for this request. I might say that these plans also reflect the exact species of landscaping after discussions with the Town. So, we are exceeding the ordinance in the amount of plantings in the area. It is just that our variance request is to move the location of those to directly in front of the building out into the first row of the parking lot area.
Mr. Matrana said at this time I would like to open this meeting up to the public if there is anyone in the audience who would like to speak on the foundation plantings concerning Wal-Mart.
Mr. Keith Moore at 2383 E. Main St., Lot 92, Plainfield said I don’t know if this question can be asked at this time and during this
meeting but my concerns are people who are on limited income or fixed
income that have older trailers that are not up to par or up to
standards as to other trailer parks in this area. What plans does Wal-Mart or what plans does the City have that they can help these people out to where they are just not thrown out on the streets?
Mr. Matrana asked, Mr. Moore do you live in a trailer home?
Mr. Moore said yes sir I do.
Mr. Matrana asked, have you spoken to the owner of your property
and what did he say?
Mr. Moore said at this time I haven’t been able to talk to anybody from the trailer park other than the manager of the trailer park. She has told us that it is an ongoing thing between the City and Wal-Mart and as far as the development and how the property is to be developed if the board approves the development, then it would go between Wal-Mart and the ownership of the land, the company who owns the land. And then it would be determined between one of those two, from what I understand I’m not sure, who would help provide these people in assistance. I have heard tonight that the majority of the trailer parks outside of Plainfield in different areas near the airport farther west and farther east that if you have a house older than 10
years old, you are not going to get in anywhere. Like I said with
fixed incomes and people who basically have two incomes in their family and still trying to make it and you have to move a trailer or you have to move a home that goes for $3,000.00 and you are on a fixed income, there has to be some help somewhere. You just can’t throw people on the streets. I think a lot of people are concerned that a lot of the owners in these three parks that are joined together are going to be holding the bag because they bought trailers from this park owner thinking that they are going to be there 10-15 years from now. And now we get a letter I think the first of February, if I’m not mistaken, or the first of March stating they are considering selling the property to Wal-Mart and we will let you know what is going on. There are going to be people when you say hey you have to move, that are not going to be able to move so what are you going to do with them? I think for the most part a lot of people, and I can’t speak for everyone, that there are people here tonight that are wondering what is going to happen to them when they can’t afford an apartment paying $400.00 or $500.00 a month for a single bedroom apartment for a fixed living income. I’m a taxpayer like everybody else. My wife is a taxpayer. We all pay taxes. We pay a lot rent to the tentative owner of the property plus we pay taxes to the City plus we pay taxes to the County. I just don’t see how something like this can be left in a situation leaving people up in the air. If nothing else, have Wal-Mart come out or have the owner of the
park come out and say here is some programs that if you make less than a certain amount of money a year that you can qualify for. A lot of people who are in these positions may not have the best credit so,
therefore, if you try going somewhere or going to another park, because they are trying to make it from week to week paying their bills like they are supposed to, does not have the credit to be approved to move into these parks and the same with an apartment complex. If you don’t have A-1 credit, they are not going to approve you for an apartment. If they do approve you for an apartment, they are going to charge you up-teen dollars for a deposit.
Mr. Matrana asked, when did you first find out that the property was zoned commercial?
Mr. Moore said that’s a good question.
Mr. Matrana said it has been zoned commercial for quite a while.
Lady from the audience said it was in the paper.
Mr. Matrana asked, is that when you first found out?
Lady from the audience said yes.
Mr. Matrana asked, yesterday?
Mr. Moore said yes. We didn’t even know that it was zoned as being commercial. Like I said we had a paper from the company of the trailer park. What they did is they made a printout or a letter to each individual resident of the park and put it in the mailbox and said there was a proposal made by Wal-Mart in purchasing the land and
putting a Super Wal-Mart Center in the area of Westwood Trailer Park
and the two adjoining trailer parks. And that there were ongoing
negotiations. They said we will keep you informed as to what is going
on and it is a situation here that at some point if we wait until you
inform us, we may be out on the street and nowhere to go. I think that is why there are a lot of people here tonight because we want to get some answers as to if the process is going through, which it sounds to me and I’m not trying to be belligerent in any way, that it is an already done deal. That you are going to put it there and it is going to be left up to us to decide where we are going to live next. That is not right. I have been a taxpayer for 20-25-30 years and to put people into these types of positions, and there are people here that are older than I am, and when you put them in a position like that, it is just not right. Like I said we pay taxes to the City, to the State, to the County. Surely there has to be something somewhere where Wal-Mart or the City or where the owner of the trailer park can come up with some kind of solution to help people who are on fixed income or limited income to where they are not just out in the middle of the street not knowing where they are going to go. That’s all that I have to say. I thank you for your time in listening to me.
Mr. Matrana said the public portion of this meeting is still opened. Would anybody like to speak on the issue of foundation plantings along the north side of the Wal-Mart building?
Ms. Debra Chesser at 2335 E. Main St., Apt 1A in the White Stokley Building said I rent an apartment for $440.00 a month with no utilities. I’m on SSI. I get $656.00 a month and if they put me out, I will have to go to a shelter. I cannot be packing boxes and picking
them up. I have a spinal cord injury. I need help. If they are going
to do this and keep saying don’t worry about, don’t worry about it,
just pay your rent, that is not fair to me because I’m vomiting. I
can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I need to know. I’m not upset with you. I
just need to know.
Mr. Matrana said I do have two suggestions for you. This is the Board of Zoning Appeals and we deal with a specific issue and it happens to be foundation plantings whether or not we should grant the waiver that requires the foundation plantings and replace it with traffic islands where you park your cars. There are two suggestions that I would like to give you. Perhaps if you would like to go to your
property owner, he would know specifically what is going on. Also, the Town Council meets twice a month and they also would be the best source of information, your property owner and the Town Council.
Ms. Chesser said but sir we have asked, Virginia, the manager in
there, the assistant manager, whatever she is and she just like sent us a letter last week, don’t be in a hurry to move. When I went to pay my rent, she said we will give you 60 to 90 days. I can’t wait on the spur of the moment. I went for an MRI today. The medical doctor and everybody is wanting to know what is wrong. When I get tensed up, I hurt more because the office is not being honest with me or with
anybody else. Late summer, early fall, why can’t Wal-Mart have a
meeting with all of the residents at the trailer court and let us know what is going on because the management is not.
Mr. Matrana asked, have you been to the management of Wal-Mart and asked questions?
Ms. Chesser said I call there but I have to ride a scooter, I can’t drive and it has been cold. It has been raining. Can I get an
appointment with one of you because I’m not going to a shelter? The
churches have had to help me get furniture. Someone is going to help
me because I have a TV channel that is waiting for me to call. Thank
Mr. Matrana said I might add that the property has been zoned
commercial for some time now. That is not a recent development. This
is something that happened many years ago. I’m just letting you in on
some information. You probably didn’t realize that you weren’t living
in a residential zoned community.
Ms. Chesser said no they just want to get the money.
Mr. Matrana said the public portion of this meeting is still opened. Is there anyone else that would like to speak about the foundation plantings on the north side of the Wal-Mart building tonight? Being no one else stepping forward I would like to close the public portion of this meeting and open the board up for discussion on the foundation plantings on the Wal-Mart north side of the building.
Mr. Shrum made a motion to approve BZA-04-005 subject to the
Substantial compliance with the landscape plan file dated
February 12, 2004.
Second by Mr. Monnett. Roll call vote called.
Mr. Monnett – yes
Mr. Blevins – yes
Mr. Shrum – yes
Mr. Haase – yes
Mr. Matrana – yes
5-ayes, 0-opposed, 0-absent. Motion carried.
Mr. Haase made a motion to adjourn. Second by Mr. Shrum. Motion
Rick Matrana, President