The Board of Zoning Appeals met on Monday, September 20, 2004 at
7:30 p.m. In attendance were Mr. Monnett, Mr. Blevins, Mr. Cavanaugh,
Mr. Haase and Mr. Matrana.
ROLL CALL/DETERMINATION OF QUORUM
Mr. Carlucci administered the roll call.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Haase made a motion to approve the August 16, 2004 minutes of
the Plainfield Board of Zoning Appeals as submitted. Second by Mr.
Monnett. Motion carried.
OATH OF TESTIMONY
Mr. Daniel administered the Oath of Testimony.
Mr. Matrana reviewed the Guidelines Governing the Conduct of Public Hearings. The first public hearing before the board tonight is
BZA-04-022, Carpenter GMAC Variances of Development Standards.
Mr. Carlucci said I’m replacing Mr. Higbee tonight and will be
giving his two reports. The first report is a request by the
petitioner, Carpenter GMAC owner of the Ohio Properties. They are
requesting a variance for a property located on the south side of U.S. 40. Part of it is adjacent to Clarks Creek Road. Primarily this is the location of the old Wendy’s. Right now Domino’s has a building
there and the parking lot, as you know, was to the southeast of that
building for the Wendy’s and then there is more property farther back. They are proposing to build a new Carpenter’s Real Estate office on that property. I will be very brief on my comments. I will just go over the three comments from the Staff Report concerning this site.
First the Staff, through our Transportation Direct, Mr. McGillem,
looked at the ingress/egress from the site off of Clarks Creek Road.
The Staff recommends that the final drive alignment, ingress/egress off of Clarks Creek Road, align with the new Wal-Mart’s entrance off of Clarks Creek Road. That would certainly make movement in that area a lot smoother especially when the new Wal-Mart goes in, there will be a lot of traffic there.
Secondly, there is a private drive, as you know. For years we have all gone down that private drive back to the car wash or go back to the Just 4 Fun or into the Domino’s. That private drive I believe is controlled, from some of the materials that I have seen, by Denny
Scott. But there is supposed to be some type of agreement out there
that has been enforced for a while. Anybody that has gone on that road knows that it is in horrible shape. It is also where the Dollar Store and the Staple’s traffic come in and out too. So, I would say that it is in pretty poor condition. This will not make it better. So, that is a concern of Staff of how, if any improvements at all are going to be made to that roadway, it is not a public street but it is a private drive.
Finally, by splitting the lot up into two businesses, as you know the Wendy’s used to be there. They had plenty of parking because they had a lot of parking in the back. By splitting the business it creates somewhat of a problem if the Domino’s is separate and then you have the Carpenter back there. Let’s say that Domino’s one day wants to convert to some higher intensive use, those parking spaces are gone and you can’t find them anyplace else. Maybe the petitioner can try to address happens if that property gets reused. What will happen to the Domino’s site if that becomes a new use and requires more parking spaces based on the usage and they are not there, they would have to come in and get a variance. The only option would be to get a variance because you couldn’t allow someone else to come in with a higher intensive use and require more parking when there is not enough parking there to begin with. So, those three issues really need to be discussed to a certain extent. Again, the entry drive will hopefully align up with the new Wal-Mart drive. To that extent I think the Town controls that through the platting too. We can require that it line up because it is in the best interests of everybody out there. Secondly, the private drive you can do nothing. It is a private drive. They know what they are getting into but I just hate to see it get into any worse of a condition. Then finally the lot split, reducing the number of parking spaces for any future users. Conceivably the Carpenter building could change uses too, down the road, so you have that issue. If there are any questions, I would be happy to answer them at this time.
Mr. Lee Comer at the south side of the square in Danville said let’s address those issues. Let’s talk about the good news of what we have to present to you this evening on behalf of Carpenter GMAC. Back when the application was filed, Carpenter was not the owner of this property. They have now acquired this property just as an update for
your records. Mr. Tom Prall is here this evening who is the owner of
Carpenter GMAC Enterprises. Troy Terew is the project engineer on this. You have known this site for a long period of time. In fact, the people that Mr. Prall has bought this property from had acquired it out of a bankruptcy not long ago and they then turned around and sold it to Mr. Prall and he bought it hoping to be able to do what he brings in as the first step of several meetings that he is going to go to. So, it is not anything that is a contingency in that he has already acquired it and is hoping to get through the system that you have here in Plainfield.
As Mr. Carlucci stated, this is the old Wendy’s site and I think that is what the original construction was several years ago. If you go down Clarks Creek Road, you probably think that is just a vacant lot
because it looks like one. That is basically what it is except as Mr.
Carlucci was saying, at one point and time it was an overflow for
parking with Wendy’s. It is not in very good shape, if you have been
by there and looked at it. The whole site is one that needs to be
updated into the current ordinances and Mr. Prall is willing to work
with the Town, BZA, Plan Commission and everybody in order to try to
get that accomplished. The problem that exists, and the reason that he is before you this evening, is not with the new lot and new building but it is with the old building and what will be comprised for that lot and building. It is kind of a funny thing but when you deal with zoning ordinances and all of the standards, they are really written for the purpose of taking a vacant piece of ground and here is how we are going to deal with this site. Here is how it is going to be built and how it is going to be improved. When we come out here and we already have an entire lot paved and you already have an existing building and you have what looks like to be a lot over here and probably needs to be taken care of for the Town, how do we make this thing work? Usually in those instances you end up going to the BZA because there are variances needed or you are dealing with the Plan Commission for waivers. So, that is really what has brought about the application to you this evening.
The first item that Mr. Carlucci was talking about you will see here and perhaps within a drawing that you have it has an entryway coming into this site. We have been meeting with some of the Town personnel in regard to this and in talking with Mr. McGillem the best idea is to move that to the north. It would basically be a joint drive for this property, which is the muffler shop I believe as well as another entry into this property. That is the best situation. The Town is actually making the contact to this owner to see if that can be accomplished. That is certainly agreeable with the owner that you have this evening of this piece of real estate. As Mr. Carlucci said, that is the best thing for everybody concerned. The only thing that we have to watch out for is a big pole right here and we have been talking to Mr. McGillem and Mr. Belcher and we think we can deal with that as far as some kind of an island situation. The Town believes that they can get that accomplished if they get some cooperation from the folks that own that site.
Point number two that Mr. Carlucci was bringing up was the private drive, which is here. As he mentioned to you, Denny Scott, or the Just 4 Fun I think is the actual legal owner of that piece of ground, there hasn’t been anything done for a number of years. There is a maintenance agreement in place that has been there for eons. Mr. Prall has made it known to some officials in Town that he is willing to contribute to try to get this thing off dead center so that this
roadway is either taken over by the Town or at least in some manner
improved, just as Mr. Carlucci was saying, for everybody back there
that uses that particular roadway. There are a number of people back
there that use that. Actually, I think Mr. Prall’s application brought about the ability to start dealing with that situation. Obviously, if it doesn’t get through the system, the road is there and it doesn’t change.
The third point that Mr. Carlucci was talking about is that the lot split itself creates perhaps a shortage of parking spaces. I want to say that it is my understanding that is not true for this lot but
again in the situation of having existing buildings and whatnot the
shortage is over here. Mr. Prall is willing to work with Mr. Higbee
and Mr. Carlucci and whoever else from the Town to get into a situation of however many parking spaces are available and whatever matches up with the uses within the ordinances, that is fine with him. He understands that. I will say that you do have a cross parking
arrangement that is projected back here that will give some parking to both of them but the parking shortage is over here and not with the new lot itself. So, a restriction by use, which is what I think Mr. Carlucci is suggesting and Mr. Higbee is suggesting in his memo, is agreeable with the owner and the applicant this evening so that can be accomplished.
So, really what we have here is an opportunity to take this old vacant lot and do something with it. As I mentioned, there isn’t much
here in the way of shortfalls with the ordinances that we have within
the Town. The shortfalls are over here. I will tell you that the
entire area is paved so there is not a lot that can be done. There is
one comment that we have within Mr. Higbee’s letter that there is some vegetation being given up because of the cross parking or the general layout of pavement within the area. What can possibly be done with that? Can it be relocated? What Mr. Prall has suggested is out in front of this building you have pavement and then you have sidewalk right up to the building. There is no grassy area at all. That the sidewalk could be cut out to an extent, perhaps a four-foot wide strip with some vegetation in front of the buildings, so as people go by it enhances this. It would be fairly low shrubs but it is something that can be done to better the street view of that particular strip along the front of the building. That may be something that you would like to consider this evening.
I don’t know how much you want to know about the building itself.
Some of the materials are down here. It is a brick building. We have
some shingles and that sort of thing. What we want to do is we have
tried to address the issues that you have within your Staff letter for your consideration this evening and we will answer any questions that you have. I want to tell you that this is the first step, public
meeting step. Mr. Prall and his representatives have been meeting with Mr. Higbee and Town officials, Mr. Belcher and Mr. McGillem and working with things such as entries, etc. They have put together what they believe is probably the best package for a lot that is going into a little bit of disarray. They are pretty well meeting the standards here and they are trying to accommodate in some fashion of getting things accomplished on the lot that has the Domino’s. So, with that we will answer your questions.
Mr. Monnett asked, what about the dumpster?
Mr. Comer said the dumpster is located back here. There is a landscape island presently. It hasn’t had a lot of tender loving care
for a while that is located here that kind of shields it a little bit. But the dumpster is located here and it is a little bit too close to the line and that is part of the variance request as well.
Mr. Haase asked, show me the boundaries of the property that the
petitioner now owns?
Mr. Comer said he owns the whole thing. Part of the application to the Plan Commission is to create this lot line. Right now it is all one parcel.
Mr. Haase asked, what is the number of required parking spaces
for the old Wendy’s building? It is about 5,000 square feet.
Mr. Carlucci said I don’t know without having to look it up.
Mr. Tom Prall from Greenwood, Indiana said I’m the president of
Carpenter GMAC. The building, as far as I can figure it and we don’t
have any plans to change it, is it is just under 4,000 square feet. Our building would be right at 4,000 square feet. The local ordinance
dictates the parking requirements for what Mr. Higbee says is an
integrated center call for 32 parking spaces for that, just less then
8,000 square feet and we actually have 33 parking spaces in the two
Mr. Carlucci said I do recall talking this over with Mr. Higbee and he did say that there are adequate spaces for both properties. Is
there going to be some type of sharing agreement for parking?
Mr. Prall said just for that portion that is crosshatched. We fully intend to sell off that second parcel and that they would be limited by the ordinances as it pertains to parking.
Mr. Haase asked, do you possess a paper that represents your contribution that you have an interest in that private drive? When you purchased this property, is there some kind of paperwork that you have?
Mr. Prall said we became a party to the agreement that now goes back to the old Laughner’s development. I believe there are eight properties that are a party to that agreement. We are now one. It runs with the land.
Mr. Haase asked, have you seen this paperwork?
Mr. Prall said yes.
Mr. Comer said the actual agreements were first put in place back in 1976. This was the creation, the easement for the roadway in 1976.
That was the granting to a particular person and then there was another one that goes to Franchise Realty. Here is one to Laughner’s. In other words it was not exclusive. They were granting easements to various people. Here is the maintenance and roadway easement back in 1979, all recorded, establishing who is supposed to maintain this. At one time it was originally Creekview Development, which kind of laid that area out and the successor to Creekview and the owner of the property is now the Just 4 Fun or Denny Scott.
Mr. Prall said we believe that Auto Zone, Staples, Dollar General, Just 4 Fun, all of those parcels would be parties to that agreement. Our frustration is we don’t have any control over that agreement. Our suggestion to Mr. Comer was that we put some money into escrow with the City to demonstrate our willingness to participate is some solution. But we don’t have the authority to get the present owners to take action on it.
Mr. Carlucci said he is right because that has always been the issue over there. I think it would be in the best interest of Just 4 Fun, if they are trying to sell that property, to improve the private drive. The Town really doesn’t have any players in this game here from the Town’s standpoint because it is a private drive.
Mr. Haase said the Town doesn’t have any power to enforce any kind of improvements there.
Mr. Daniel said I have looked at that agreement and we are not a
party to that and we have every reason to believe that it is only
enforceable by the parties that signed that.
Mr. Carlucci said that agreement actually predated the Town annexing the property out there too.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I have some experience with that document trying to get some road repairs there for one of the former occupants of the property held by Franchise Realty. At that point and time it was just before Just 4 Fun and without the owner wanting to do anything it was basically impossible to get anything done. There were a lot of phone calls probably to Mr. Carlucci, the State Highway, anybody within earshot and I believe it is set up as common area maintenance type pieces. If the owner decides to go in and do maintenance, then the cost is shared equally among the different signatories of the agreement. But it has been a long time since I have looked at that.
Mr. Comer said what I have found is Creekview, now Just 4 Fun is
supposed to be the sole maintainer of that driveway. It is a pretty big burden but nevertheless that is what the records indicate.
Mr. Prall said you have four or five national chain stores there and to the extent of the main entrance to their place of business I would think that they would like to get that problem solved. You probably have to deal with some guy in Indianapolis dealing with 300 stores and 17 states. I know that can kind of be a process but there is a lot of people’s interest to get that problem solved. It is not big money to the Staples of the world. It is just somebody with initiative.
Mr. Haase said I realize we are not here for this tonight but this black line drawn virtually north and south here doesn’t exist as we know it today.
Mr. Comer said that is correct. That is another application pending at the Plan Commission.
Mr. Cavanaugh said I believe the intent is to have this platted as an integrated center.
Mr. Comer said I think the intent now is to plat it as two lots. I think I’m correct with that. At one time it was going to be an integrated center but we got to focusing on the fact that the other lot is really going to be sold at some point and time whether it is
tomorrow or 10 years from now. We might as well start dealing with the issues such as variances since we already have an improved lot so how do we make this thing work in the ordinance? It is not going to do any good to do an integrated center to meet the ordinance because as Mr. Prall said, he wants to sell that. And at that point and time he has the need for variances. We might as well be up-front with everybody and try to get everything resolved from the get go rather than try to jam it together later on.
Mr. Haase asked, if you are going to proceed on, how can you have a dumpster area? It is a common area for parking. How can you have a
dumpster on somebody else’s property?
Mr. Prall said it is crosshatched and a mutual area.
Mr. Haase said I understand that but you have a structure though. It is not just access. It’s not just parking. You have a structure.
Mr. Comer said there is going to be a maintenance agreement and an access agreement with that for common usage.
Mr. Haase asked, what is the variance that he is requesting?
Mr. Prall said that is for the location of the dumpster.
Mr. Haase asked, is that variance being requested for the entire
Mr. Comer said I think the answer is yes.
Mr. Haase said the variance that we have tonight we only know there is one parcel.
Mr. Comer said yes it is the whole thing.
Mr. Prall said we don’t show on this parcel a dumpster. In the
agreement that creates the sharing of the parking that same agreement
will create the sharing of the dumpster also. That is a sizable
dumpster. It is six foot long and will make it look as nice as we
possibly can with a brick wall.
Mr. Haase said the variance for the dumpster is for the required
side yards. I’m confused because it looks like it is in the rear yard
as opposed to the side yard. It says, “variance of development
standards requesting to permit the placement of a dumpster enclosure in a required side yard.”
Mr. Comer said due to the configuration I don’t know whether this is the side or not.
Mr. Prall said this is the side between this parcel and this parcel.
Mr. Haase said that dumpster enclosure is not on there. That parcel doesn’t exist tonight.
Mr. Troy Terew at 8055 Windham Lake Drive, Indianapolis IN said as you said, it is currently one parcel. Where Mr. Higbee was coming
from is he was coming from Clarks Creek back and that would have been
in the side yard.
Mr. Haase said the dumpster enclosure if the two parcels get split, that will not be in the side yard of the other parcel.
Mr. Terew said it will be in the side yard of this parcel.
Mr. Haase said it looks like it is side and rear actually.
Mr. Comer said I don’t believe you are wrong but I just don’t know which is the side and the rear with the thing. We are taking Mr.
Higbee’s lead of it being the side.
Mr. Cavanaugh said you have to know what the side yard requirements are for the Domino’s lot. It looks like 20 feet or so.
Mr. Haase said but it has a side yard here, if this lot exists and it looks like it has a rear yard as well.
Mr. Prall said Domino’s is the current tenant and has been the
occupant at that building in the neighborhood of four years now. They
are on a month-to-month lease. They know it will be our intent to sell the property so you should not be thinking that this is going to be the Domino’s building. It is probably going to be some other occupant after this whole process runs its course. Without question it means less parking because this parking is not going to be there on this site.
Mr. Haase asked, in your office building how many real estate agents would you anticipate working out of it?
Mr. Prall said we built this same building in seven different
locations around Central Indiana. We have 17 spaces up front and we get six with the shared agreement in the back and that is plenty. If we had plenty of room, we would probably do a site plan for 26 or 28 but I drive by my offices all of the time and there are three cars in the parking lot.
Mr. Comer said they are presently located on Clarks Creek in Larry Good’s building close to the fire station.
Mr. Prall said it meets the ordinances as pertaining to the zoning.
Mr. Matrana asked, is there anyone in the audience who would care
to speak on this proposal this evening? Being no one coming forward I
would like to close the public portion of the meeting and open this
matter up for discussion and a possible motion.
Mr. Haase said I’m going to ask Mr. Daniel a question for clarification. These variances affect the proposed lot, which would
have frontage on Clarks Creek Road so these variances are in respect to the new lot and not to the existing large lot. That is what my sheet says here. These variances affect the proposed new lot under requested action.
Mr. Daniel asked, and what is your question?
Mr. Haase said my question is this dumpster is not on this lot.
Mr. Daniel said it is not on a new lot. It is on what is owned by
Mr. Haase said I know but it says these variances are for that new lot and the dumpster is not on that new lot.
Mr. Daniel said there really isn’t a new lot right now as I understand it.
Mr. Haase said no but if there is and going to be, the dumpster would not exist on what is going to be a new lot.
Mr. Comer said I go along with that yes.
Mr. Daniel said the new lot is going to be to the east. I think that is a misstatement on the requested action.
Mr. Comer said just let me recap a couple of things, if I may. As Mr. Carlucci was saying, we have an opportunity to get this lined up. It is something that the petitioner will be working with the Plan
Commission on as they proceed with the platting part. We have an
opportunity to bring to a head something having to do with that private drive. I think this is probably going to be more the prime entrance into this particular site. In general we can talk in terms of restricting the parking as Mr. Higbee sighted in his work. So, we can deal with uses that will make this thing fit. I think more importantly what Mr. Prall wants to do is bring a development to this site that is going to be an enhancement to this area and to the Town. The unfortunate part is in trying to get this accomplished he is dragging along a little bit of an anchor to get everything to fit. We are talking about basically pavement and this building compromising the entire lot. That is a little bit of where he is coming from and what he wants to accomplish and is asking your approval of the first step so that he can try to get that done for himself as well as the community.
Mr. Cavanaugh said right now probably where the new entryway is
being shown on Clarks Creek there is an existing dumpster. It looks
like it might be servicing the oil change business. I’m presuming that is going to be removed as this site is constructed. If it does indeed belong to the oil change business, then it is something that they have to contend with although it is oriented into the existing Domino’s parking area that we are talking about this evening. I don’t know if you are aware of that or not.
Mr. Terew said when I was out there doing my recent survey, I saw it. It wasn’t there earlier in the process. It magically appeared within the last month or so.
Mr. Cavanaugh said so I know that is going somewhere else. I’m going to consider a dumpster there now and for whatever reason needs to remain there. Presumably it is serving the oil change facility.
Mr. Comer said it wouldn’t be serving this site.
Mr. Cavanaugh said the existing trash enclosure that is there now
serving Domino’s is going to have to be removed and replaced with where this one is going. One thing that I notice on the site plan that may be beneficial for the existing use is if you actually have three handicap parking stalls out there, it is probably two too many. So, you could gain some additional parking by going down to one stall and even with a total count of 15 only one would be required. That is just a suggestion.
Mr. Carlucci said I think Mr. Haase has a good point. Maybe the way to move on a motion, if that is the board’s desire, is to indicate
for the trash enclosure that it would be consistent with the
configuration of the proposed new platted lots. And be subject to the
Plan Commission approving that.
Mr. Comer said that is fine and a good idea.
Mr. Carlucci said it would have to be because these lots, like you said Mr. Haase, don’t exist.
Mr. Haase said if they were never thought to exist or going to, they wouldn’t need the variance for the parking because there is enough parking.
Mr. Carlucci said the only issue that came up would be the dumpster. Anybody else that would come in and take those over can’t get the parking they need even with the shared parking. They can’t get it unless they try to come in and get a variance, which they are entitled to do at any date and time in the future. The BZA would come
back and say you knew that before you came in that it was a limiting
factor. I would suggest that you will find on that central part of
U.S. 40 there most of the heavy retail is farther east. That is why
McDonald’s isn’t there. That is why Wendy’s isn’t there anymore. That
is why those businesses are gone and Laughner’s. I was back there
about a week and a half ago and that parking lot gets absolutely no use by anybody. It is overgrown and is in pretty ratty shape back there because there is nobody ever parking back there. There were very few parking back there when there was a Wendy’s
Mr. Cavanaugh made a motion to approve BZA-04-022 subject to the
Subject to substantial compliance with the site plan, landscape plan and associated details on file dated August 12, 2004 through August 19, 2004.
An agreement for revising the entry onto Clarks Creek Road be aligned with the potential Wal-Mart entry drive.
Any future use of the existing one-story commercial building along U.S. 40 be limited to those uses that would have appropriate parking on the final configuration of the parking lot.
The dumpster placement be shown on the plans previously mentioned.
Pending final plat approval by the Plan Commission.
Second by Mr. Blevins. Roll call vote called.
Mr. Monnett – yes
Mr. Blevins – yes
Mr. Cavanaugh – yes
Mr. Haase – no
Mr. Matrana – yes
4-ayes, 1-opposed, 0-absent. Motion carried.
Mr. Carlucci asked, do you have any return receipt cards?
Gentleman from the audience said he has the originals. I have copies with me.
Mr. Carlucci asked, did you give them the certification for those
Gentleman from the audience said yes.
Mr. Matrana said the next matter before the board is BZA-04-023
concerning Larry Good Homes.
Mr. Carlucci said the petitioner of Larry Good Homes is representing the owners, Mary Lou Coleman/Taber. They are requesting a variance from development standards to provide a reduced yard bufferyard to permit the placement of a dumpster enclosure. The Coleman property previously had two residential structures on it. They are proposing to construct one office building with six units. One of the interesting features of this lot is that it has a triple frontage
on Dan Jones, Linden Lane and Hawthorne Drive. Because of that they
are limited on the building line and the street and being in a
bufferyard and, of course, the property to the north is the Mel Daum
property, which looks the farthest away from an R-4 Zoning District as you can get although that is what it is zoned. It is a legal nonconforming use. So, I will let Jay Arnold come up and speak about the proposal, which I believe has gone through approval at the Plan
Mr. Jay Arnold at Creekside Lane, Plainfield, Indiana said there are actually two variances. The rear setback is 15 feet. I believe it
would be 20. When we met with the Plan Commission, they didn’t have
copies of the design of the dumpster, if it is of interest to you. I
can show you what we intend to put there but we are 15 feet off the
property line and I believe it needs to be 20. The rear setback and
then the dumpster that is the only place we can put it because we have three streets that we are contending with. I would be glad to answer any questions that you have.
Mr. Monnett asked, which way will the main entrance face?
Mr. Arnold said there are three entrances, two to the south and one to the west.
Mr. Monnett asked, will the dumpster be on the front?
Mr. Arnold said the dumpster will be on the east side. I’m not certain if you saw this but on the back of the building that was
recently built, it is the same design and the same facade. The owner
of this property owns the office building south across Hawthorne Drive where there is a dentist office or two there. So, the veneer of these two, the shingles, brick, etc. are going to match. They are going to be the same thing with a similar look so we think it will be a nice addition to the Town.
Mr. Matrana asked, is there anyone in the audience who would care to speak on this matter? Being no one come forward the Chair is prepared for discussion or a possible motion.
Mr. Haase made a motion to approve BZA-04-023 subject to the following conditions:
Substantial compliance with the site plans and landscape plan file dated August 12, 2004 through August 25, 2004.
Second by Mr. Cavanaugh. Roll call vote called.
Mr. Monnett – yes
Mr. Blevins – yes
Mr. Cavanaugh – 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. Cavanaugh.
Mr. Rick Matrana, President