MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS,

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2006

AT 6:30 P.M., IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL,

MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.      ROLL CALL

PRESENT:           Board Members -      Green, Holthof (late), Higgins, Lichtenwald,                                                                         and Steele

ABSENT:             Board Members -      None

OTHERS PRESENT:      Daryl Poprave, Deputy Director of Planning & Community Development, Debbie Marquardt, Technical Secretary, and 3 others.

 

2.   APPROVAL OF MINUTES

It was moved by Higgins and supported by Green to approve the minutes of the August 15, 2006 meeting as corrected.  Motion was unanimously approved.

 

Page 2 ZBA #06-10 wording changes:  Fence is located on a retaining wall which varies in height from 2 feet to 8 feet in addition to the height of the existing fence which is 5 feet 9 inches in height.

 

Page 4 ZBA #06-11 make it say Battalion Chief John Haag requested rather than for.

 

Page 5, 4th paragraph last sentence 1200 sq. ft. detached garage which is in addition to the 140 square foot detached building that is on the property which makes it 1340 sq. ft.

 

Last page on decision sheet that a change is for petition 06-07 and the second one is 06-05.  They are correct in the decision sheets.

 

Jon Steele stated that his first name was misspelled throughout the Minutes. 

 

3.   PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

a.      No. 06-13 – Advance Auto Parts for an area/dimension variance to allow a ground signage increase to 108 square feet at 1415 South Saginaw Road.

 

Daryl Poprave introduced petition request #06-13 and stated that this variance was being requested to increase signage on site.  The store is currently under construction on South Saginaw Road between Haley Street and Washington Street.  This site was previously a restaurant.  The property is located in Regional Commercial zoning district and commercial zoning exists on both sides.  Advance Auto Parts was seeking two signs and they would like to amend the petition back to one, 147 sq. ft. wall sign and seek variance to allow a 108 square foot pylon sign. 

 

Our ordinance counts gaps and the rectangle on the outside edge.  They were talking about the pole sign, which is a 6’ x 18’ sign that will be set back 5 feet from the property line.

 

Staff’s recommendation is to approve the 108 sq. ft. pylon ground sign.  This request is a lot more reasonable without the additional wall sign. 

 

Shawn Smith, 6001 Nimtz Parkway, South Bend, Indiana stated that Advance Auto Parts have amended their request to a minimal request of 8 square feet.  This is a corner enter store and would typically have two building signs.  They went into deliberations and with the setbacks and the visibility are limited so they are just going to stay on Saginaw Road.  They are going to do 8 foot sign setback.  The proposed sign would fit in well in the corridor and with the other signs.  The Ford Dealership has a total of 10 signs at that location.  This building is set back 65 feet from the right of way. 

 

Higgins asked if they could make a 100 square foot sign.

 

They would have to produce a new mold to make a custom sign and that would be a price difference of $15,000 to $20,000.   

 

            Higgins asked the petitioner to answer the five criteria.

 

The building design is the same throughout the country.  15% of the community is in motion.  There are a lot of calculations that go into the sign size. 

 

The sign enhances the architecture of the building and helps the motorists to find the property.  It allows this property to meet its zone potential.

 

This will provide advance notification to motorists.  It provides good quality signage on the roadways itself.

 

Some may turn into the Big Boy and then come across to the store.  It will alleviate traffic for them.   

 

The view of the sign is limited.  They are 65 feet setback from the property line and there is an easement from the property line and road.  There is accessibility from Wisconsin.  This is less signage then Arby’s or the Ford Dealership.

 

The setback is further than any other property on that corridor.

 

Green asked if the standard sign meets the 3 to 1 ratio and would it be provided in a 75 square foot sign.  There is a smaller sign size but they would like to stay close to code.

 

Lichtenwald asked if the image is silk screened on the sign and in the 108 sq. ft. version.  Can the signs lettering be printed at any height?

 

 

The petitioner stated that it is actually molded in.  Can they put a larger letter set on the 15 feet?  No it is all designed.  The standard sign is 18’ x 24’, but if they can’t they look at the 6’ by 18’ if they can get that.  The letters cannot be increased.  The sign is on the face but it is on the mold.  The sign design is based on what it is.

 

The Chairman asked if there was anyone present who wished to speak in favor of the petition, hearing none the Chairman asked if there was anyone present who wished to speak in opposition to the request.  Hearing none the Chairman closed the public hearing and directed the Board to enter into findings of fact on petition 06-13.

 

            Findings of Fact:

1.      The property is zoned Regional Commercial.

2.      Speed limit on S. Saginaw Road is 35 mph.

3.      One letter was received in opposed to the original request.

4.      Petitioner has changed the request to a 108 square foot sign and the wall sign will conform to the Zoning Ordinance.

5.      The building is set back 65 feet from S. Saginaw Road.

6.      There is only one curb cut on S. Saginaw Road.

7.      That there will be landscaping between the parking lot and Big Boy as required by the Zoning Ordinance.

8.      The sign has a standard cabinet of 6’ x 18’ (108 sq. ft.), which is the closest to Midland’s Zoning Ordinance and the next standard size is 5’ x 15’ (75 sq. ft.).

9.      Petitioner stated that a new custom sign would cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

 

            It is moved by Higgins, seconded by Green, to approve Petition No. 06-13 based on the findings of fact for a 108 square foot pylon sign at 1415 South Saginaw Road.

 

Higgins stated that they have an existing building right now on 400 South Saginaw Road and it has a smaller sign.  It appears that the problem is self created.  They could deal with a 75 square foot sign.    

 

Holthof stated that there is a sign ordinance and 100 square feet is what we should allow.  Our ordinance can’t dictate all sign sizes.  They have met the strict intent of the ordinance.  The word strict compliance is in that criterion.  Most of the adjoining property owners have greater signage.

 

            Steele agrees with what was said.

 

Greene commented that they are located on S. Saginaw Road for traffic flow.  Strictly based on the criteria it is one to take into consideration.

 

Lichtenwald can agree with some of the comments made so far.  This would do justice to the applicant.  It is just barely over the limit but he is having a problem with not being able to comply with the Zoning Ordinance.  The uniqueness of the property wasn’t met.  It doesn’t feel right.

 

Holthof stated that South Saginaw Road runs on an angle and that could be an uniqueness and intersects at an angle.  There are trees along the out lawn. 

 

Higgins stated that City Council wants the pole signs to be smaller. 

 

Steele stated there is a differential from 25% under or 8% over.

 

            Vote on the motion:

Green:  No

Higgins:   Yes

Holthof:  Yes 

Lichtenwald:  No

Steele:  Yes

 

The motion to approve the Amended Petition 06-13 was approved 3 - 2.

 

4.   PUBLIC COMMENTS (not related to items on the agenda)

 

None

 

5.   OLD BUSINESS

 

None

 

6.   NEW BUSINESS

 

a.   Set 2007 meeting dates – Print time for the calendars so they need formal action to approve.  It was moved by Green and supported by Steele.  Motion passes unanimously.

 

7.   DECISION SHEET SIGNATURES

 

  1. 06-05 review corrected copy

      b.   06-07 review corrected copy

      c.   06-08 review corrected copy

      d.   06-09 review corrected copy

      e.   06-10 approval of findings of fact

      f.    06-11 approval of findings of fact – page 6 of minutes is right but there was an   amendment requested that 140 square foot building removed and screening required     in addition to the motion.

      g.   06-12 approval of findings of fact

 

8.   ADJOURNMENT.

 

The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 7:22 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Daryl Poprave

Deputy Director of Planning & Community Development

 

DP/djm