November 20, 2007



          Mrs. Thomas-Roth called the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting to order on November 20, 2007.


          Attendance was taken and the following members were present:  Mr. Bruns, Mr. Butler, Mrs. Thomas-Roth, and Mr. Marsh. 


          1.       Mrs. Thomas Roth asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the August 14, 2007 meeting.  There were no corrections so Mr. Marsh moved that the minutes be accepted as prepared.  Mr. Bruns seconded the motion.  Mr. Butler abstained and the other board members voted for the motion.  The minutes were accepted as prepared.


          2.       07-10  - Application for a zoning variance from Curtis Bruce Black at 204 Applegate Road to build a play fort in the storm drainage easement.


          Mr. Applegate said there was a representative at the meeting for Mr. Black.


          Mr. Applegate said thirty years ago when Union was just a village, a fifteen inch storm pipe was installed within  an easement. 


          Mr. Black is asking to have a play fort structure within that easement.  The structure is located in the easement, five feet from the center line of the pipe that is there. 


          Mr. Applegate said the city has has no problem with this and they asked Mr. Black to check with Dayton Power and Light and they had no objections either. 


          Mr. Applegate said ordinarily there would be a ten foot easement, five foot on each side, and that is where they are at with the placement of the structure.


          Mr. Marsh said it was not an abandonment of the easement, just permission for infringement. 


          Mr. Applegate said that was correct.  He said Mr. Black was aware that if Dayton Power and Light had to come through the easement and remove the structure for some reason, it would be at the property owner’s expense to put it back.


          Mr. Butler moved to grant the zoning variance.  Mr. Bruns seconded the motion.  All concurred and the variance was granted.


          3.       07-11 - Application for a zoning variance from Robert W. Craig at 117 Lexington Farm Road to build a deck in the front yard setback.


          Mr. Applegate said Mr. Craig was present.  This was a request to build a deck into the front building setback.  Currently, there are existing steps that are within the seven foot area that he is asking for.  Mr. Craig is asking to build a cover over the existing steps and carry the porch down the front of the house.  Mr. Applegate said he and Mr. Green have looked at it and have no objections to it due to the porch and steps that are already there.


          Mrs. Thomas-Roth asked if this would be enclosed and it will not be.  Mr. Marsh asked if there was a railing and there is. 


          There is already a cement landing there with no railing.  Mr. Marsh said he was trying to determine the exact footage that would infringe upon the set back.  Mr. Applegate said it would be seven feet into the set back, the same as the existing porch.


          Mr. Marsh commented that it would not interfere with the neighbor’s site line. 


          Mr. Marsh moved to approve 07-11 and grant a variance of seven feet for the deck to be in the building set back.  Mr. Butler seconded the motion.  All concurred and the variance was granted.


          4.       07-12 - Special Exception request from First Baptist Church at 217 Shaw Road for a reduction of the required parking spaces for their new building located at 219 Shaw Road. 


          Mr. Applegate said Pastor Jones was present.  Their congregation is in the process of building a new church.  When the city ran the calculations for parking so the church can get the commercial building permit, they determined the church would need additional parking to meet the requirements for the new building.  Pastor Jones has asked to put this requirement off for one year until they can get the building built and the landscaping in.  Mr. Applegate said he and Mr. Green have no objection to this extension.  Mr. Applegate said the staff recommends the approval.


          Mr. Marsh asked about the number of existing parking spaces.  At this time, they are using more street parking.


        As the church continues to grow, there is additional parking planned and Mr. Applegate indicated where that was shown on the plan. 


          Mr. Marsh commented that if the parking is not added within a year, the special exception becomes void and Mr. Applegate said that was correct and the city could start action to enforce the parking regulations. 


          Mr. Applegate said the staff recommends the approval.  He said Pastor Jones and his congregation has done a great job since they have come into the city and Mr. Applegate said it has been a pleasure to know Pastor Jones.


          Mr. Bruns moved to grant the special exception.  Mr. Butler seconded the motion.  All concurred and the special exception was granted.


          5.       Discussion for an off site sign proposed by Bruce Anderson, Irongate Development to be located on the south-east corner of State Route 48 and Phillipsburg-Union Road.


          Mr. Applegate said Mr. Anderson was a developer for Irongate Estates.  He said they were all aware of the housing market and the problems associated with it right now.  Mr. Anderson has come to the city asking for additional directional signs so that people know that the development is still there and there are still lots for sale.  Mr. Anderson was asking if he could install a permanent sign at the intersection of Phillipsburg-Union Road and State Route 48.


          Mr. Applegate said that off site signs are not permitted in the Union code but he understood the problem the builders were having.  He suggested that Mr. Anderson come in and talk to the planning commission.  Mr. Applegate said Mr. Anderson had offered to put in some landscaping at the intersection around the sign. 


         Mr. Anderson talked about putting up a sign on a property in Cincinnati and his experience with that.  He said they were advertising the development but people did not know where Irongate Estates was located and they were having trouble finding it.    He said they would like to put in a sign, landscape it and maintain it.


          Mr. Anderson added that Irongate had a strong homeowner’s association and he thought that they would have the same contractor take care of the sign that maintains the entrance.


          He said most of the traffic the development has is from State Route 48.  Once the development is completed, they would pull the sign.


          Todd Bailey from Vantage Homes said it would really help them also.  He said they had a great development and they have not had much success with portable signs.  He said it would help to get more traffic into the development. 


          Mr. Applegate said the city owns part of the corner there and they are talking about the south-east corner.  There is enough room behind the wall but this would be in city right-of-way and that part was privately owned.


          The city code says no off-site signs and the city has never permitted this.  They have been asked many times over the years.  He said they might consider changing the code.  He said he wanted to know the feelings of the planning commission.  He said any sign would have to be temporary and would have to look good.  Mr. Applegate said he had Mr. Moore, the city’s attorney, looking into the situation.


          Mr. Marsh said that the planning commission had a record of denying these requests.  He said he thought if they would do it for one company, they would have to do it for others.  He said he understood what the problem was for the real estate companies.  He said Sunshine Kennel had asked repeatedly for off site signs on State Route 48.  He said he wanted to see the Irongate Development completed but he was hesitant on giving permission. 


          Mr. Applegate said he didn’t think they had to give Mr. Anderson an answer that night.  In addition to prohibiting off site signs, there was also a problem with allowing a sign in the city’s right of way.  He was having Mr. Moore investigate this also.


          Mr. Bruns asked if the city could give a variance if they wanted to.  Mr. Applegate said no, because it was not permitted.  So it would come down to how they had to change the ordinance.  Mr. Bruns said he was concerned about opening up the door on political signs.  Mr. Applegate said the city controls the right of way, and also, allowing off site signs on private properties.  Mr. Applegate said that was part of what they needed to look at and that the city could be specific at what was allowed. 


          Mr. Bruns suggested they see what can be done, and investigate it further. 


          Mr. Marsh said that was one of the concerns when they were doing the sign ordinance-to have some control on off site signs on private property.  Mr. Marsh said he was hesitant to pursue this much further.


          Mr. Butler said he was interested in seeing what Mr. Moore would have to say. 


          Mr. Applegate said no permanent sign would be allowed.  The way the ordinance stands now, the answer is no, that it was not allowed. 

          Mrs. Thomas-Roth said they had spent a lot of time on the sign ordinance. 


          Mr. Anderson said that they were in a bad market and a sign would really help increase their sales.  He felt they needed to do anything they can to market their subdivision.


          Even if it would be temporary, they would do a tasteful sign.  He said no amount of advertising would help them if they get the people in the area and they drive right past Phillipsburg-Union Road


          Mr. Applegate said they hoped to have additional information at the next meeting and he asked the board to keep thinking about the problem.


          6.    Open Agenda


          Mr. Marsh asked how the presale ordinance was working.  Mr. Applegate said it was working very well.  Mr. Green had received a call and been invited to make a presentation in Vandalia.  They were very impressed on what they were trying to do.  There are people that would prefer not to do it but the people living on either side are glad and also, when the new homeowner moves in, they are not sent zoning violations because any deficiencies should have been taken care of by the presale inspection. 


          Mr. Applegate said it was making a difference and within the next five years, most of the homes will be fixed up.


          Mr. Marsh asked about the next meeting in December.  Unless something is submitted, they probably will not have a meeting.  He said with Mr. Beyer’s council term ending, he would not be on the planning commission any more.  Mr. Marsh said he would like the record to reflect that he certainly enjoyed Mr. Beyer and his comments, not that they always agreed, but he respected him as a very positive thinker for the community and he would miss him.  He said he had a lot of respect for the gentleman and the time that he has donated to the city for the planning commission and board of zoning appeals and his service to the community.


          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.