The Plainfield Board of Zoning Appeals met on Monday, March 17, 2008. In attendance were Ms. Duffer, 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 minutes of the February 21, 2008 Board of Zoning Appeals as submitted. Second by Ms. Duffer. Motion carried.
Mr. Cavanaugh abstained from voting since he was not present at that meeting.
OATH OF TESTIMONY
Mr. Daniel administered the Oath of Testimony.
Mr. Monnett reviewed the Guidelines Governing the Conduct of Public Hearings. I am told that BZA-08-002 has been withdrawn.
Mr. James said that is correct. The petitioner wants to convert their existing garage to the living area so they can build a detached garage (inaudible). So, they can do that and that is allowed by the Plainfield Zoning Ordinance. So, the variance is no longer needed.
Mr. Monnett said our next item is BZA-08-003.
Ms. Sprague said this is a request for Value Place. It is located next to the (inaudible). It is zoned General Commercial and part of it is partially in the Tri-L PUD and it is basically surrounded by (inaudible).
They are requesting two changeable copy signs; one each on the southeast and the southwest facades of the building. Normally one changeable copy sign is permitted. They are also requesting a faster rate of change than allowed for any message center that end up located on the property. In 2006 before the Value Place was built they had requested something similar; it wasn't exactly the same but that they have more than one changeable copy sign. That request was denied at that time but the rules allowed them to reapply after six months.
In addition, with the Development Plan review the Plan Commission, with advice from the DRC, did not permit a changeable copy sign on the building. They were opposed to having any flashing or distracting signage at that height.
(Inaudible). This is what they are proposing. (Inaudible). One thing that we have noted to them is they are not allowed to have a box sign. The whole thing is cabinet (inaudible). Obviously the message center (inaudible). That is one thing that they would be required to change. And then there is a drawing of what we recommended (inaudible). The signage, as they proposed it, meets all of the sign standards as far as (inaudible).
Staff Comments, Questions and Concerns: The question is whether or not we want to set precedence with this? I think the Plan Commission's view was the height of the changeable copy signs and then the speed that they would change. And then is this decision going to undermine what the Plan Commission stated that they wanted (inaudible).
One thing that was considered was the Wayfinding Sign Program. At this time the program is well underway, where it was in the early planning stages when the Value Place first came before the Plainfield's boards.
The sign type appears to be a cabinet or box sign with this proposal. The message center section of the sign will always be a cabinet but the Value Place portion of the sign at the bottom could be changed to individual letters on a background rather than individual letters on a cabinet. The petitioner has been provided with an alternative that had been previously proposed at the Development Plan stage that Staff feels would be an acceptable alternative to the cabinet sign that has been proposed.
What will be the actual message of the changeable copy signs? At the time of the Development Plan, Value Place had narrowed the options in order to make the signs more acceptable to the Plan Commission, i.e., lowest weekly rates, full kitchens, etc.
Do the submitted Findings of Fact supply the required the substantial change in circumstances from the first submittal.
What additional conditions, if any, are needed to provide the board with an adequate comfort level to grant all, any or a combination of the requested variances. The petitioner is here should you have any questions.
Mr. Joe Calderon said we actually have several representing the petitioner this evening. I'm an attorney with Boise, McKinney and Evans in Indianapolis with offices at 301 Pennsylvania Parkway. As you have just heard, we are back but I do think things have changed by the reason of the fact that the building is built now. We hope that you are proud of the building; we think it is a very attractive addition to the corridor at that interchange. As your Staff had said, we did not have the building even approved by DRC or the Plan Commission back in August of 2006. It was previous to my helping out with Value Place the first time that they came in.
Additionally, Value Place is new to the market being in Indianapolis and the suburbs and some of the other close by cities, Louisville is one in particular that we intend to show you this evening. So, all of those experiences combined will help us explain our case this evening I think a little bit better. We hope to show you, not only important business reasons for our request this evening, but also the fact that we think we can meet your Findings of Facts, which obviously you need to be comfortable with. As your Staff had mentioned, it sounded like several variances were in play but it really boils down to the fact that we are asking for two changeable copy signs instead of one. One is permitted in this district by your code. Each of them we propose to have a message with the ability to change faster than the six times per hour. We will show you later that the technology is such that these types of messages can in fact change at a rate of four seconds. The State has in fact an active law with respect to changeable copy signs on its highway system as eight seconds. In some of the other cities and towns that are graveling with changeable copy signs, particularly the electronic versions, have proposed various conditions whatever they feel comfortable with. For example, I have recently done two changeable copy signs in front of Castleton Mall and the Greenwood Mall, which feature the technology that you will see this evening. In Castleton we agreed to a 10 second changeover rate and in Greenwood there is no restriction. The key for those signs, and I think something that we would like for you to focus on this evening, is the fact that if you believe that this technology is here to stay and your vote permits it but you don't have a lot of other restrictions other than conditions, is that boards that we have presented to not only this client but for others, seem to focus on the fact communities don't want to see the flashing and the scrolling type of messages. That won't be part of the presentation this evening. So, hopefully since we are the only case on the agenda we can solicit your thoughts and comments in that regard.
What we are really trying to do this evening is capture the traffic that passes by or is orientated to this building. Most of you I'm sure are familiar with it. Interstate 70 we have frontage that captures both east and westbound traffic, however, it only captures westbound traffic once you are past SR267. So, there is a visibility constraint for westbound traffic prior to SR267. When you come up the ramp from exiting off I-70 to SR267, SR267 is obviously elevated and the building height because the grade is substantially below the ramp, the building height actually gives you a view at the top of the building. So, we do think that we can show that the height concern, at least in the context of the ramp level where the east facade is, should not be a major concern to this board or the planning staff or the commission. So, while we recognize that business reasons are not the sole purpose for your granting a variance we do think that as an end goal supporting your local businesses and helping them thrive is a good outcome for you to be and the rest will be up to us to prove that the circumstances for this particular piece of property are a little different than others in that particular corridor. So, we don't think you would be setting a dangerous precedence; merely we want to work within the parameters of what your codes suggest and we think we can show that we've got two signs that are substantially less in bulk than what is permitted in the code.
So, with that I would like you to know who else will be speaking on behalf of Value Place. Gina Wolf who this has been her baby; she is the Regional Development Manager. She brought the original project through and has the experience, not only with this, but with several other projects. And also we have Kyle Clements and Charlie Schalliol from SES who are the sign guys, if you will, who will kind of take you through the sign package via handouts.
So, I will kind of summarize their points and some of the code technicalities and perhaps findings that we propose this evening. But I'm going to let Gina introduce herself and say a few words about Value Place, its ownership, its experience in creating brands and kind of relate her experience with respect to other municipalities that she has had in other communities because it is a new brand for this market. Then she will turn it over to both Kyle and Charlie.
Ms. Gina Wolfe said I'm the Director of the Development Support for Value Place Hotels. My address is 8621 E. 21st Street, Suite 250, Wichita, Kansas, 67206. As Joe mentioned, this has been my baby from the start from October 2006 and we are here now at March of 2008 and I'm still working with you all on this project and making it a viable property for our hotel. I have some handouts if you don't mind. As Joe mentioned, we have been before the board before back in August of 2006 but when we were here in August of 2006, we were coming to you as a new developer to your community. Now we are here as a partner to your community and we want to make this a successful hotel as obviously you would as well.
I just want to take a step back and give you a little bit of history of Value Place Hotels. Some of you may or may not be aware that the chairman and founder of Value Place Hotels is Jack DeBoer. Now that name may or may not ring a bell for a lot of you but the reason I say his name is because Jack is familiar to branding in hotels, i.e., Jack was the founder and chairman of the Residence Inn now owned by the Marriott chain. He went on to follow that with Summerfield Suites now owned by the Hiatt chain and then he followed that with Candlewood Suites now owned by Intercontinental. I don't want to brag on Jack's past but I want you to know that hotel and branding isn't new to the team at Value Place. Value Place is a new concept in the extended stay market. It focuses more to the small and medium size business professional that are paying out of their own pocket that are really looking at the bottom line or those self-employed business owners again, looking at their own bottom line. We also cater to military families in transition and traveling professionals such as traveling nurses and families in transition that may have a house being built. We had that happen several times in our Wichita properties; we have a growing housing market right now in Wichita fortunately but we house a lot of families or couples in transition until new homes are built or people moving to a new part of the country, state, city, whatever it may be. But the reason I tell you this is just to kind of give a little bit of history about Value Place, who we are, where we have come from, and we want to partner. We have partnered with your community. We want to have it successful and I'm assuming you want the same for us as well because it benefits both parties. I'm going to turn it over to Kyle Clements and Charlie Schalliol with SES because they are professionals that can talk to the signage specifically. I just wanted to go ahead and introduce myself as a representative of Value Place and I'm available after everybody finishes their presentations to answer any further questions that you may have. Thank you.
Mr. Charley Schalliol said with me this evening is Mr. Kyle Clements both at South Bend, Indiana, 46228. If I may, I have a presentation for you. If it is okay, I would like to walk through this packet together. It kind of tells a story in regards to what we are here tonight to talk about. If you look at the first page of the presentation, what you see is what we call the new cut road site in Louisville, Kentucky. What we have done is found some locations in the Value Place portfolio that are located regionally that kind of fall into the same circumstance in regards to having the electronic message sign in locations where we are not allowed a freestanding sign or unable to utilize a freestanding sign due to grade differentials and lack of meeting the height allowed code or the fact that we don't have the appropriate setback to be able to put up a freestanding sign. So, what we have done is found these locations and brought these to you. The new cut road site as you can see on the picture in the lower portion of the page, the electronic message center is exactly what we are asking for this evening. This site opened June 25th of 2007 and it is currently run into the 71.1% occupancy. That is all going to play a part of the occupancy in about a second so please bear with me.
On the next page you can see Brook Ridge Village, which is in the Gene Snider Parkway overlay district and this location was unable to use a freestanding sign. We modified the signs somewhat to fit within their regulations but once again utilized the electronic message center. It opened on September 19, 2007 and currently runs at a 72.7% occupancy rate.
On the next page you see Clarksville, Indiana. This is one of our newest properties and this is probably the closest in proximity that has this type of situation. It has a manual changer sign, which is more in line with what your code would consider a business identification sign. Once again it utilizes the rate on the sign, 200 square feet. It opened January 11, 2008 and it runs at a 99.2% occupancy. As you can tell through all of these aerials in the picture that are provided these signs in these locations are all right next to the interstates. That is an important fact due to the fact that Plainfield has the same circumstances.
As you can see on the next page and also blown up on this graph, you can see that it has the business lines of the other Value Places that are in the family and then it has Plainfield. There is a little bit of a difference there. Plainfield has been opened for approximately 79 days now but is currently running at a 14.9% occupancy where the other locations are currently running at about a 79-80% occupancy rate. That is a vast difference and one that is truly hurting our business.
This directly correlates as you can see on the next page, on the end elevation or what is considered to be the east elevation. Our site does not have the ability currently to have that rate of the business up on the sign. This sign in particular shows the westbound traffic on I-70 and the northbound traffic on SR267. As you can see, this property did open December 28, 2007 directly comparable to what you can see in Clarksville or relatively similar to what you see in the Louisville sites as well.
On the next page you will see exactly what we are asking for on that elevation, which is to modify the existing sign to allow for the changeable copy sign to be encompassed into that sign as allowed per the code and as requested. Once again the sign is 200 square feet. I understand Staff's comments in regards to the meter change out. The portion underneath says Value Place needs to do an individual channel letter sign in the background; that is not an issue. We can definitely accommodate that.
If you flip to the next page, you will see the other sign as requested. This sign shows the eastbound traffic on I-70. It would be what I would consider located on the rear of the building or in this situation on the south elevation. The motorists that are traveling eastbound would be able to utilize this sign as a wayfinding tool before needing to catch the exit to SR267 to be able to locate our facility.
On the next page it is just a brief summary per code talking about the fact that you are allowed 10% of the wall and not to exceed the 80% of the lineal.
On the next page there is a breakdown in regards to what the sign is. Technically with the code it is measured at 200 square feet. The geometric shape or if you follow the actual outline of the sign, it actually breaks it down to 139.95 square feet that we are actually using out of that 200. So, that equates to basically 30% of what is allowed or what we are being told our sign calculates as. It is actually unused space.
On the next page is really a breakdown of how the code relates to this request. As you can see in your diagram, the blue box that is behind the white box is what we are allowed on the east elevation per code; 227 square feet. Once again even with the strictest interpretation we are only asking for 200 square feet, which is 88% of what is allowed. Once again if you break it down to 139.95, we are even farther, 62%. Now the final box on this page shows the allowed square footage if you take 40% from the 227 that is allowed, 90.8 square feet is what we technically would be allowed for a changeable copy sign. We are only asking to use 37.88 square feet. That is 17% of the allowed.
On the south wall on the next page you are allowed 871 square feet of signage. Once again we are only asking for 200; that's 23% of the allowable square footage. We are not using over 500 square feet. Once again if you reduce it further, 16% and if you look at the message center calculation on this page, we are only asking for 11%.
So, the total for both wall signs we are allowed 1,098 square feet of signage. We are only asking to use 439.2 square feet. No I'm sorry 400 square feet; that is 588 square feet left on the table. The allowed message center for the changeable copy portion 439.2 square feet we are allowed by code; it is 40% of the allowable. We are only asking for a total of 75.76 square feet; only 19% where 40% is allowed. It is a lot of square footage left on the table.
If you go to the next slide, there is a breakdown once again of how the square footage of the message center plays into the actual physical square footage that we are using; once again 27.1 square feet of each sign that we are asking for.
On the next slide you will see some of the examples that are already in use in this corridor. You have the Arby's, their message center has a price contents situation but it is evolved and utilized into a message center. Burger King, the same thing. The Coachman Restaurant, the same thing and the Ramada as you can see, has their price break up on the top of their building peak. So, it is in practice in this corridor.
On the final page is an aerial that shows where we took the pictures from traveling eastbound on I-70 and there's actually a picture from the top of the ramp as shown from SR267 looking at the property.
So, basically what I wanted to bring before you and talk about was the fact of how we relate to your ordinance. The properties that are allowed and able to use the message center are intended for motorists on a highway as this one is; the traveling motorists and not permanent residential people. As you can see, the nearest residential to our property from the south wall is 1,620 feet and from the east wall 2,000 feet to the nearest possible affected resident. It is not physical, it is not affecting them; it is only going to be utilized by people that are traveling on the highway; people that are looking for a valued oriented place of lodging; people that are unfamiliar with the area. We are trying to get them here safely.
Mr. Calderon said I think that is the first time that I have ever been outdone in terms of technical information by a non-lawyer. I think you get the jest that what is being proposed tonight in terms of bulk signage is well below what the code requires or permits. We are not trying to make the sign the focal point of the building. We are trying to make the building more affective by having more affective signage. A lot of communities deal with this in different fashions and I think in these circumstances what you are really looking to determine as you make your decision are three things as you know. Does the sign hurt anybody from a neighboring property? I think the answer is evident by the fact that it is all commercial property nearby. There is no remonstrance here. I don't think anybody feels that they are being adversely affected by this petition. So, I think the answer is pretty easy yes; there is no adverse affect by approving this sign on adjacent property. Then you really look at how does this relate to the community's health and safety and general welfare, which tends to relate to what I mentioned earlier with this type of sign and your code has in place restrictions of not changing the changeable copy signs more than six times per hour. I think the overreaching goal in that is to make sure that traffic is not unduly distracted by changeable copy. I think that probably when your code was drafted, you were dealing with a relatively new technology without the benefit of studies and things that have been done since that time.
One of the things that I wanted to hand out to each of you is on the first page is a law that went into affect following the 2007 general assembly. I didn't copy all the pages out of the statute book because there are different references but this same issue came up with respect to signs on interstate highways. It would be under the jurisdiction of INDOT. I think you have had some experience with new billboards that have changeable copy out on the interstate. What happened, as a result of this law, is that the changeable message sign relates to a message that lasts at least eight seconds, which would give you an idea of the safety as embodied in a statute at least as enacted by the State legislature working through INDOT. There are studies that show the safety test is satisfied by four to five seconds and I have related to you my own personal experiences with signs that tend to revolve around the 10 second give or take a second or two that would allow for an affective message to be presented. A transition that is not going to be distracting to your drivers, which is what I think you guys should care about particularly in this situation.
The third thing that I think that you need to focus on, and hopefully we made clear in the photographs, is that the sign placed on the building will fit and make sense from a location standpoint. In particular the east face that faces the ramp of SR267 although there was concern expressed about having the sign elevated so to speak. In this case with the height of the ramp and the elevation of the hotel being below that grade I don't think you are going to create a precedent that would be dangerous. There was some notion that we will just put a changeable copy sign as part of the monument sign. Our property is absolutely different than the other properties on SR267 as you travel to the north where you can actually get down to grade level where the monument sign makes sense. It makes no sense in this location to be affective. I think because your code doesn't have any strict requirements or restrictions on the height or location of a wall sign other than its proportionality then if you really think of it from a commonsense standpoint and envision yourself at the top of the ramp, you can see that we do have a different set of circumstances. And what we would call in the business a practical difficulty of achieving some of the goals that maybe DRC or the Plan Commission wanted to have by lowering the height of the sign because of the differential in grade.
Unfortunately the site is not ramped up as much as Value Place would like. We think we have shown that either there is a way to help this hotel brand itself more in line with what is traditionally done. It has worked with other communities in similar circumstances; suburban communities that would have the exact same concerns that you all do in terms of wanting to protect your gateways and the integrity of your ordinances and we don't think we are trampling on that integrity with our request this evening. We think that in approving this you are recognizing that each property can be treated uniquely and approve its own unique set of circumstances, which we hope that you agree that we have done. We feel very lucky that we are the only case on your agenda as we would encourage you to ask us questions or engage in things that might make you more comfortable because we know we are asking technically for several things this evening. We want to again be your partner and reach a decision that will be beneficial for the community. We worked with Joe and Rich and tried to highlight the things that we think are important to make this business really work and the sign package for this hotel work for the community as well as the business and we certainly thank you very much for your time and patience this evening.
Mr. Carlucci said Joe and I met last week, everybody here in the room today and the chief executive officer for Value Place so I have already had the benefit of seeing a lot of information ahead of time. The one pretty basic thing in most of these variance requests is one justification I had a whole bunch of questions about in how they do their business is they try to do week stays. And that is what their game is and how anybody driving down the interstate would say I want to stay in Plainfield for seven days. I'm not going to question their business model and how they do business but what I am concerned about is that the justification for a variance can never be the economics. Of course, we all know that and my other main concern is when they show these corridor signs, you can see that there has been an evolution of signage out in that area. The Coachman sign was probably up before I got here, which was in Hendricks County at the time and they had no sign ordinances. Some of the other signs are pretty small in comparison for different businesses and different styles. But what I'm concerned about is we have a substantial amount of hotels out there and that they ought to be allowed what they are allowed to do but to set a precedence and open up that whole area I will guarantee you that they will walk in one right after another and ask for the same thing. I think at the Pendleton Pike site there is actually a billboard close to that. Again, I worry about setting a precedent and I think the Plan Commission has been real clear on the subject about pricing and turnover. You know they say well we can have two wall signs; that's right but you can't have two signs with a message board on them. You have all of that extra square feet; that's right you are entitled to what you are entitled to. But in terms of message boards you are not entitled to that; you're not entitled to that turnover. So, I just wanted to give my comments and my prospective. I remember a business coming in here and wanting the pricing and it was a hotel and they got turned down and never came to Plainfield. That was prior to everybody else being here on the board. So, those are my comments; that's what I worry about is that we are just going to be inundated with these requests because we're not done with more hotels going out there. I can't tell from the economy whether it's just they got a slow start; they haven't done enough marketing; maybe it's the economy; I have no idea. This is a real busy time for people so I don't know what the issue is there but I'm trying to stay out of that part of their business.
Mr. Daniel said I would like to make one comment Mr. President, if I can. The ordinance requires a substantial change of circumstances if you come back with a request like this. Ms. Sprague said they didn't have a building there before and they do have now. I don't think that constitutes a substantial change. If that was the case, everybody would come in here before their building goes up and ask for a variance or whatever they are going to ask for if they get turned down. And when the building comes up, come back in and say we have a change of circumstances; our building is there now and they get two bites of the apple. I don't think that constitutes a change of circumstances. I think generally a change of circumstances means something far more than we were contemplating building a building and we are in the process of getting it approved and now we have a building so we have a change of circumstances. I don't believe that is anywhere near what the ordinance is contemplating when they talk about coming back in and asking about something that was really outside of the control of the property owner; that something has happened; a road change or an interchange change, etc. where something like that has happened that is something outside of their control.
Mr. Carlucci said the challenges that they faced they bring up where their site is located. Nobody put a gun to their head to go to that site. As a matter of fact, that is the exact thing they said the last time when they came in.
Mr. Daniel said all of that interchange was there when they came in and to say that now their building is there it is my opinion that it doesn't constitute a change of circumstances.
Mr. Carlucci said their CEO said they like the site; they didn't have any questions about the site but I guess my issue is they knew what that site was like when they bought it. They knew where it was on that roadway so that is the difficult thing to overcome now but I still think it is a good site. That is what their chief executive said too; it is a workable site.
Mr. Monnett said maybe before any other discussion if the petitioner is finished, I can close the public portion of this so that the board can discuss this or make a possible motion. So, I think I will do that at this time. So, I will entertain discussion or a motion at this time.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I would like to make a couple of comments. I agree with Attorney Daniel that there is a legal interpretation I'm sure of a substantial change but this doesn't seem to be a substantial change to me. I find it hard to believe that having these signs would overcome the 50-60 percentage point business disadvantage. I'm certainly sympatric to that but I believe decisions were made to open this business knowing what the signage allowance was. Now to come back and ask for more to me frankly is a non-starter. I mean you made a decision to start business here and we have a sign code and if you would like to comply with that, then you can probably get any sign permit you need. But I would not be in favor of this.
Mr. Calderon said I think we would be willing to certainly pull the second changeable copy sign off the table on the south face facing I-70 on the long elevation, which would get us in line with the code permitted requirements as far as having the one changeable copy wall sign. Now the issue is if I'm hearing the board correctly, that it's not inclined to consider any change in the rate of change requirements in your code; in other words the 10 messages.
Mr. Cavanaugh said speaking for myself if you were to make a submittal with a complying request and you go through normal channels, a variance would not be necessary. So, if you are intending to come back with a complying signage request that would be a different thing than what we are considering now.
Ms. Sprague said according to the development plan conditions that the Plan Commission set when they approved it, they are not allowed to have the changeable copy sign. So, even if the ordinance approves it, Staff would be going with the Plan Commission decision (inaudible).
Mr. Carlucci said so their option would be to go back to the Plan Commission to get relief from that.
Ms. Sprague said yes. (Inaudible).
Mr. Daniel said and file an amended plan.
Mr. Carlucci said right. They already agreed to the approval so they would have to go back to the board that gave them the approval because this board can't do anything about that.
Mr. Calderon said I think there have been circumstances not necessarily between you as a board and Plan Commission but there were some circumstances where they can get some guidance to a Plan Commission. I think all we are looking for in that regard is how you feel about the rate of change? I would like to listen to some feedback from you as members.
Mr. Cavanaugh asked, was the rate of change a consideration from the Plan Commission?
Ms. Duffer said no more than six times per hour.
Mr. James said one issue also (inaudible).
Ms. Duffer asked, and the Plan Commission was not in favor of the price being displayed?
Mr. James said that is correct.
Ms. Duffer said I think it falls back to the Plan Commission then.
Mr. Gibbs asked, shouldn't they go back to the Plan Commission?
Mr. Carlucci said it is kind of interesting when you have development plan approval saying one thing and you have a variance request coming in to say something else. So, if the BZA were to deny this and then they go back to the Plan Commission, then you keep going back and forth.
Mr. Daniel said they can't do that.
Ms. Duffer said they would have to withdraw this to be in compliance with one changeable copy sign.
Mr. Daniel said right.
Mr. Carlucci said there is always a problem with withdrawing things under our ordinance because it then sets you up not coming back within another certain period of time.
Mr. Daniel said unless the time period is waived.
Mr. Gibbs asked, what is the time period Mr. James.
Mr. James said six months.
Mr. Cavanaugh asked, is that for any further review or for the request that is withdrawn?
Mr. Daniel said I think to the extent that they are asking for something different then that time period hasn't (inaudible).
Mr. Carlucci said but it has to be substantially different.
Mr. Daniel said that is right.
Mr. Carlucci said and not just slightly different.
Mr. Daniel said I agree.
Mr. James said six months.
Mr. Calderon said so what I hear the board saying tonight is that we need to withdraw the application, which we thought was to this board as instructed, we need to go to the Plan Commission for modification.
Mr. Carlucci said the BZA doesn't have to let you withdraw anything. You are already in a public hearing. It is too late to withdraw anything.
Mr. Calderon said I understand sir; I apologize. But we would have to make application for modification of the Plan Commission approval?
Mr. James said he can withdraw for a motion and it is six months for an adverse decision.
Mr. Daniel said and three months if they withdraw. It's quicker if they withdraw.
Mr. Calderon said and this would be going back to the Plan Commission to discuss with them, i.e., if the Plan Commission didn't like the height of the changeable copy sign on the building?
Mr. Calderon said which is allowed per code in a changeable copy sign.
Mr. James said in a changeable copy sign.
Mr. Calderon said I just want to make sure if we refile, we are filing for the correct thing. Because the pricing is allowed in a changeable copy sign because if it's static, then it becomes a business identification sign, is that correct?
Mr. Calderon said 40% but it doesn't say anywhere in the ordinance that if you have rate, it's not allowed on the changeable copy sign. Such as you see in the Burger King, such as you see on every other sign out there. If it is a changeable copy sign, you are allowed to have pricing.
Mr. James said that is correct.
Mr. Calderon said so I just want to make sure if we file with the Plan Commission, we have the accurate information. The rate of change I understand we still have an issue with the six times per hour.
Mr. Carlucci said the rate of change is a BZA issue.
Mr. James said (inaudible).
Mr. Daniel said correct.
Mr. James said (inaudible). If they decide on one changeable copy sign, then to have it at that height, that would have to be approved by the Plan Commission (inaudible). Another alternative I didn't bring this up when we met last week is an integrated center could have a changeable copy sign at a height of 35 feet for the six lots in this primary plat.
Mr. Carlucci said that may be difficult because you have a six-lot plat. Is it under one owner?
Mr. James said (inaudible).
Mr. Carlucci said they could pursue that with the owner of the other five lots.
Mr. Cavanaugh said unless there is other discussion from the board for the case that we have at hand and unless the petitioner has anything to add I'm prepared to make a motion. I'm going to do so in about 30 seconds.
Mr. Calderon said I think in the light of the circumstances if the board would allow us to withdraw the petition this evening, it would be appreciated. We will take it up at the Plan Commission.
Mr. James said if they are still wanting to increase the rate of change, that would have to go before the BZA.
Mr. Calderon said we understand.
Mr. James said it would be three months.
Mr. Cavanaugh said Mr. Chairman I'm prepared to make a motion. I make a motion that we allow the petitioner to withdraw their request for BZA-08-003. Second by Ms. Duffer. Roll call vote called.
Ms. Duffer – yes
Mr. Cavanaugh – yes
Mr. Gibbs – yes
Mr. Monnett – yes
4-ayes, 0-opposed, 0-absent. Motion carried.
OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS
Mr. James said I've been approached by Arvin Meritor Company about temporary storage. This is the location where they would like to have it. They would like to have temporary storage and I just want to get your interpretation to see if we are on the same page. Under temporary issues the way that I interpret this one wouldn't be a temporary use. The way of example, the structures and buildings include construction trailers, garage sales and seasonal retail. I don't think this temporary use would be allowed.
Mr. Gibbs said I agree.
Mr. James said and if they were to use these, they would have to be screened in an I-2 District. I don't think they would be willing to pursue that option.
Mr. Cavanaugh asked, Joe can you show the site plan again please?
Mr. James said they would like to put them in this area right here. They have an expansion underway. There are plenty of empty warehouse out there.
Mr. Gibbs asked, how many do they want? Did they say?
Mr. James said 100.
Mr. Gibbs said they can look somewhere else.
Mr. James said they want to stack them on top of each other.
Mr. Carlucci asked, where is north on that building?
Mr. James said Whitaker.
Mr. Carlucci said that is even worse because there is nothing on that lot to the north of there. TKO Graphics is on one side.
Mr. James said you wouldn't see it from Stafford.
Ms. Duffer said but they are taking up parking spaces.
Mr. James said that is another issue.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I agree that it is probably not what we want out there but do you know what they want to store there? Is it a result of their expansion?
Mr. James said yes it is because of their expansion.
Mr. Cavanaugh said so they just need temporary storage.
Ms. Duffer asked, how long is temporary?
Mr. James said under the ordinance they can't exceed one year.
Mr. Carlucci said it's just a bad idea. They are taking the back part of the building where Jacobson used to have. Is there a new business going in there; a related business to what they do?
Mr. James said I think it is a joint venture.
Mr. Carlucci said if they put those out there, we will never hear the end of this.
Mr. Gibbs asked, is that the only storage one they have out there?
Mr. James said they don't have any.
Mr. Carlucci said leaving this stuff out there for a year is not what I think the way we want that industrial park to look.
Mr. Cavanaugh asked, couldn't they park tractor trailers out there?
Mr. James said some warehouses do that but we try to restrict that too.
Mr. Gibbs said just tell him no.
Mr. James said the other item deals with outdoor storage. We met with the Opus North representatives. It's for the Airwest 11 building on the Reeves Road new building.
Mr. Carlucci said it would be right across Becton-Dickinson.
Mr. James said yes it's right across BD.
Mr. Carlucci said Firestone is part of that building.
Mr. James said yes Firestone has about 130,000 square feet that they want to lease out to a company that makes plastic cube containers. One of their clients is Coca-Cola. They are easier to stack and easier to ship but it is plastic molding and injection system. They have to store the plastic chemical containers. I talked to Rich about this and the storage tanks would be 40 feet high; about as high as the building and they would be in the back of the building so they would not be seen from the front. Rich said that in the past since the containers cannot be fully screened as required by the code, they would need variances. So, I will let you know later down the road.
Mr. Carlucci said we did one of those for Sylvan Plastics on Perry Road but they are set pretty far back but you could drive by there five times and not see them because they painted them to match the buildings. A lot of them have emergency water storage. Epson has one, which is on Perry Road. They also put up a wall; you can still see it on one side but I know we have done this a couple of times because they load and unload the plastic outside. The variances we have out there now are not intrusive.
Mr. Cavanaugh said this is not on a Gateway Corridor.
Mr. James said they are more like silos; tall and skinny things.
Mr. Carlucci said we approved a silo out at the Andico Industrial Park for a business there.
Mr. James said the variance would be (inaudible).
Mr. Carlucci asked, where do we stand with the semi-tractor trailer?
Mr. Daniel said they have informed us that they would be moving that and paying the fine.
Mr. Cavanaugh made a motion to adjourn. Second by Ms. Duffer. Motion carried.