1.      ROLL CALL

PRESENT: Board Members - Green, Higgins, Lichtenwald, Pnacek and Steele

ABSENT: Board Members Siemer

OTHERS PRESENT: Cindy Winland, Consulting Planner, Debbie Marquardt, Technical Secretary and five others.



It was moved by Green and supported by Higgins to approve the minutes of the November 20, 2012 meeting. Motion was approved unanimously as presented.



The Chairman explained the public hearing procedures and how the Board decides if the variance request is approved, based on the five Board of Appeals decision criteria in the Zoning Ordinance. The variance is legally recorded with the property and is not transferrable to another parcel.


a.      No. 13-01 Great Lakes Eye (Cherokee Investments) for a variance to the maximum square footage of a ground mounted sign in the Office Service district. The application seeks to increase the permitted size of a ground mounted sign in the Office Service district from 12 to 30 square feet, requiring a variance of 18 square feet. The property is zoned Office Service and is located at 407, 411, 415, 419 West Wackerly Street.



Ms. Winland showed an aerial map of the location of the petition. This parcel is zoned Office Service. The request is to increase the size of the one sign on the property. They are on a corner lot and they can have an additional sign that is up to half of the permitted sign and an additional ground mounted sign of 12 square feet due to frontage over 600 lineal feet. The petitioner is asking for one sign on the corner that is 30 square feet.


(1)  Will strict compliance with restrictions governing area, setback, frontage, height, bulk, density or other non-use matters unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property for a permitted purpose or render conformity unnecessarily burdensome?

The sign is too small to be seen and advertises four different office uses. It is being used now for the permitted purpose. Considering the size of the lot it could be burdensome.

(2) The variance will do substantial justice to the applicant as well as to other property owners.

The petitioner noted that a larger sign would make it more visible to patients and increase safety so that people are not slowing down to read sign. The sign would be unobtrusive because it would remain on the corner. It is not a LED style.


(3) The variance requested is the minimum variance to provide substantial relief to the applicant and/or be consistent with justice to other property owners.

The applicant talked about traffic and safety.


(4) The need for the variance is due to the unique characteristics of the property not generally applicable in the area or to other properties in the same zoning district.

The applicant has noted that it is four separate units with four separate uses and it is difficult to put out a sign with all the uses. The value of granting the variance would be to limit the number of signs on the property.


(5) The problem and resulting need for the variance has been created by strict compliance with the Zoning Ordinance and not the applicant.

The petitioner has said that the problem is strict compliance. They could put three smaller signs. Mr. Green asked if all four businesses would be advertised on a 30 square foot sign.


Discussion: Mr. Higgins asked about the signs on Wackerly Street. There are a variety of signs and sizes on that street. Ms. Winland said that the address is not included in the sign size. There are a lot of different signs in the office service district due to a variety of zoning regulations over the past ten years. It is Regional Commercial zoning on the north side of Wackerly and they are allowed more signage.


Sandy Sprague, General Manager of Great Lakes Eye Institute spoke. The sign is just too small for what they represent. Both patients and vendors have commented on the size of the sign. The offices now have different addresses for each suite. They would like to keep the sign the same height and increase the width. They would not request an additional sign. It would be lit from the inside. That is how the present sign is.


No one else spoke either in favor of or in opposition to this request. Jack Higgins made it known that he is a patient of Great Lakes Eye.


Findings of Fact:

1.       The zoning is Office Service.

2.       The speed limit on Wackerly Street is 35 mph.

3.       The speed limit on Northgate Drive is 25 mph.

4.       The entrance to the facility is off Northgate Drive.

5.       There are three businesses at this location.

6.       No communications were received.

7.       The area across Wackerly Street is zoned Regional Commercial.

8.       The total amount granted is 30 square feet.

9.       It is a condo association with four suites at 407, 411, 415 and 419 W. Wackerly Street.


It was moved by Higgins and supported by Pnacek to approve Petition No. 13-01 based on the findings of fact for an area/dimension variance at 407, 411, 415, 419 West Wackerly Street for an 18 square foot variance to the maximum square footage of a ground mounted sign, with the condition that there is only one sign on the property, not to exceed 30 square foot, no taller than 5 feet and located no closer to Wackerly than the existing sign.


Vote on the motion:

Green: Yes

Higgins: Yes

Lichtenwald: Yes

Pnacek: Yes

Steele: Yes


The motion to approve Petition 13-01 was approved by a vote of 5-0.


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










a. 12-09 Review Findings of Fact

b. 12-01 Recorded

c. 12-08 Recorded



Hearing no further business, the Chairman adjourned the meeting at 7:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Cynthia E. Winland, AICP

Consulting Planner