August 3, 2010




Members Present: 


Patricia Goudy

John Bruns       

Lynne Thomas-Roth

Glynn Marsh                    



City Staff Members Present:                


John Applegate
Denise Winemiller



          Mrs. Thomas-Roth called the City of Union Board of Zoning Appeals meeting to order. 


          Attendance was taken and all members were present.


          1.       Mrs. Thomas-Roth asked if there were any additions or corrections of the Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes from May 4, 2010.  There were no corrections so Mr. Bruns moved that the May 4, 2010 Board of Zoning Appeals minutes be accepted as prepared.  Mr. Marsh seconded the motion.  All concurred and the minutes were accepted as prepared.


          2.       10-03   Zoning variance request from Chris Estepp, 120 Summitt Drive in the fence regulations to go from required three feet six inches to three feet high.

          Mr. Applegate said that Mr. Estepp was present.  He said the application was self-explanatory on what Mr. Estepp was asking.  Mr. Applegate asked Mr. Estepp if he needed to address the Board of Zoning Appeals. 


          Mr. Estepp said he was willing to answer any questions from the board.  He said that the reason for the shorter fence was because there is a pond behind the property on the Summitt cul-de-sac.  He did not want to obstruct the view of the pond for both his neighbors and himself.  The options for the fence were three foot and four foot six inches.  They had discontinued the three and one-half foot and four foot fence.  They looked at the four and one-half foot and it just did not look good and did not offer the view they wanted.  He didn’t want the fence to obstruct the view from people walking down the street. 

          Mrs. Thomas-Roth said she drove by and looked at the property and the fence almost matches what is used at the clubhouse.  Mr. Estepp said that a neighbor next to him has a fence and both fences would be joined together. Mr. Estepp said everything would flow and the fence would not be gaudy or out of the ordinary.

          Mrs. Thomas-Roth asked about tying into the other fence and Mr. Estepp said the neighbor’s fence is slightly higher. 

          Mr. Bruns asked if there was any fencing required for safety for the pond.  There is nothing required for that area.   Mr. Bruns said this was not a situation where there was a pool in a back yard and a necessary fence requirement.  The pond and the fence are separate issues.  The proposed fence on Mr. Estepp’s property has nothing to do with the pond. 

          Mr. Applegate said it was staff’s recommendation that the Board of Zoning Appeals approve the variance request.

          Mr. Bruns moved to grant the variance to Chris Estepp for a three foot fence.      Mrs. Thomas-Roth seconded the motion.  All concurred and the variance was granted.

          3.       10-04   Zoning variance request in the sign regulations from Bill Driver of MBK Properties, LLC, 102 South Main Street.


          Mrs. Thomas-Roth said the paperwork submitted had a good explanation but she asked Mr. Applegate if he wanted to comment on the zoning request.

          Mr. Applegate said that Mr. Driver, the owner of the property was present at the meeting.  He added that he had met Mr. Driver when he had purchased the building from Hine’s Hardware.  Mr. Applegate said that building was not in good shape, both inside and out.  Mr. Driver had been able to completely renovate the building.  Mr. Applegate added that without Mr. Driver’s work, the building would have continued to deteriorate.   Mr. Applegate said now the building is an asset to Main Street.

          The building was originally two separate businesses that were joined together by an addition.  Currently, there are four businesses located in the building right now and a fifth business space is available.

          Mr. Applegate said Mr. Driver was not aware that he had needed permits for the additional signs. 

          Mr. Applegate showed the board colored pictures of the buildings on all sides.  The city has not permitted a new sign for the dance studio because of the square footage regulations, which is why Mr. Driver has come before the Board of Zoning Appeals.   The sign regulations are no more than 50 square feet per business lot and no more than two signs per business. 

          An informational sheet was added to his application, showing that Mr. Driver was asking for an additional 90 square feet in signage area.  Mr. Applegate said they had a similar request when a business had moved into the old Owl Drug Store, asking for signs on both sides of the building.  They had requested approximately an additional 32 square feet.

          Mr. Applegate and the Zoning Inspector have gone over his plans and have no problem with Mr. Driver’s request which is why the proposal has been presented to the Board of Zoning Appeals to see if they have any questions or problems with the proposal. 

          Mr. Marsh asked since the building was connected, would it be considered as two buildings, or three?  He asked if it was on two separate lots.  Mr. Applegate said the structure is on one lot.  Mr. Applegate said they had granted a variance earlier for the parking lot.  It is a unique building for what the use is.  Mr. Applegate said that any small business that would be located within the building would want to be identified.  Mr. Applegate said the way the signs are, they stand out and are easily seen from Main Street.

          Mr. Applegate said that instead of coming in several times and asking for more square footage for each additional sign, he suggested they look at what would be needed and come in and ask for a variance for additional square footage one time. 

          Mr. Marsh mentioned that this was almost tripling the signage going from 50 to 140.  Mr. Applegate said there were three signs now and an existing sign would balance it out. 

          There was a garage in the rear and they were also asking for a sign for that area also. 

          Mr. Applegate said when Hine’s Hardware owned the building, there were signs that had been put up before the sign regulations.

          Mrs. Thomas-Roth said the signs were very good looking.  Mr. Marsh added that the building was also very attractive. 

          Mr. Driver said they had just put a new roof on the dance studio and the two story.  They had to tear off three layers of asphalt shingles and a wood shake roof.

          Mr. Bruns asked about a sign on the front of the two story facing Main Street.  Mr. Driver said there would be one over the dance studio, on the one story. 


Mr. Bruns asked if he would consider needing more signs in the future.  Mr. Driver said he did not think so but he appreciated Mr. Bruns asking that question.  He thought what he was asking for would be enough if he could have the four signs on the south side and the one for the dance studio. 

          Mr. Bruns said he had no problem with it.  He said the look of the signs on the south side is very clean and adds to the look of the building.  He thought every business would want to have a sign.  He said if the city wanted to be business friendly, he thought they should allow this.

          Mr. Marsh said his only concern was that they were tripling the signage area.  He said he had no problems with what Mr. Driver was doing but he was concerned about setting a precedent.  Mr. Bruns felt that they were not doing that, they were just granting a variance.  He felt that the precedent is the code of 50 square feet.  He said that Mr. Driver came in with a presentation and if anyone else wants to apply for a variance and come in and make their case, they would consider that also.

          Mr. Applegate said the building is unique and has multiple businesses.  Every situation is different.   He said they had met several times and tried to come up with something that would be agreeable to the board members.  He said what Mr. Driver has done should be commended and that to have different businesses, he would need to have signs. 

          In response to Mr. Bruns’ question, Mr. Driver would still need to get a sign permit even if the variance is granted. 

          Mr. Marsh said his concern was that someone else would ask for more signage since they were allowing it for Mr. Driver.  He agreed with Mr. Bruns’ point that they would look at each item individually when considering a variance.  Mr. Applegate said that case law gives planning commissions discretion in the State of Ohio.  


          Mr. Marsh moved to approve variance 10-04 for Mr. Driver on the additional square footage for signs for 102 South Main Street.  Mr. Bruns seconded the motion.  All concurred and the motion was passed.


          Mr. Driver said whether it was working with Mr. Applegate, fire, police, etc. he has had a great experience with Union which is why he is glad that he had restored the building. 


          4.       Discussion of zoning to allow gravel excavation business.


          Mr. Applegate said what they are dealing with is that Miller Brothers Gravel is no longer in business and Phillips Gravel out of Xenia is now leasing the facility.  They intend to buy it and operate it until the extraction of gravel is no longer available.

          When Miller Brother’s property was annexed, it came in as A-R and everything there was pre-existing so it was allowed because it came into the city that way.  Mr. Applegate met with Mr. Phillips who is looking at buying the property.   Mr. Applegate said when you look at the zoning code, 1145.01 A-1 Agricultural Residential District is highlighted under Conditional Uses.  If a business meets the conditions, it is allowed but it does exclude concrete mixing plants.  Mr. Phillips is concerned that if Piqua and Ernst would move out, then the concrete plant would not be a pre-existing condition so the city would not allow a ready mix plant. 


          Mr. Applegate said if the board members looked at other parts of the code (provided in their packets) for example, accessory uses, 1153.06 (c) in commerical and industrial (not agricultural) if a property was zoned commercial, it would be allowed because it is required for the principal use.  Concrete would be allowed because it was required for the principal business.


          Mr. Applegate said they should consider changing the code for Agricultural-Residential, allowing the concrete mixing, still under conditional uses.

          Mr. Applegate said he wanted to just bring this up in an informal process before going through the normal zoning text amendment process and see what their thoughts were on this. 


          Mr. Bruns asked if there was a valid reason to keep the code the way it was.  Mr. Applegate said the plant had been operating for years and no one had ever complained.

          Mr. Marsh said he was concerned about the weight of the trucks.  Mrs. Thomas-Roth said the plants have already been operating for years.  Mr. Applegate said they had some problems with Ballinger Road where Ernst was located.  The road had no base on it so they just treat it and it has held up.  Mr. Applegate said that is something that they just have to deal with. 


          Mr. Applegate said he would not be favorable towards an asphalt plant but had no objections to the concrete plant.


          Mr. Marsh verified that they would need to eliminate 1145.01 (7), the highlighted section, “but not including concrete mixing plants”.


          Mr. Bruns asked what Mr. Applegate needed from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

          Mr. Applegate said they will get things ready and if there is no problem, they will send it to the Mayor and Council.  He said he will tell Mr. Phillips that the city would be in the process of doing a zoning text amendment. 

          Mr. Marsh asked about the approximate financial cost for this.  Mr. Applegate said they have to follow the Ohio Revised Code and write and place an ad in the Court Reporter.  He said it would cost five to six hundred dollars. 

          Mr. Applegate said by leaving it under the conditional uses, the city can still control how they want it operated if someone new comes in. 


          Mr. Bruns moved that the City Manager work on amending 1145.01, to remove the “not including” concrete plant verbiage and bring it forth to Mayor and Council.  Mrs. Thomas-Roth seconded the motion.  All concurred and the motion passed.


          6.       Open Agenda


          There was nothing for the open agenda.


          7.       Mr. Marsh moved that the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting be adjourned.  Mr. Bruns seconded the motion.  All concurred and the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting was adjourned.