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March 28, 2016 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Jim Maciejewski, PresidentTim Kuiper, Board Attorney
Ken Schneider, Vice-President 
Tom Ryan 
Paul Panczuk 
Jason Williams 


Mr. Maciejewski called to order the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals for February 22, 2016 at 7:05 p.m., and asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance (recited and all took their seats).

NOTE: Recording starts at 21:58 into the posted St. John Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, the following minutes reflect once the audio was started.

Okay,., I’ll start again,

Karl Madsen – 11147 Valley Drive:

Mr. Madsen advised that he was appearing on behalf of the Hunters Run Homeowners Association. He stated that they were not excited about the electric sign being installed, with message capability. He did however state that they did like the fact that the sign is smaller, the lighting would be amber, that they have made an attempt to move the sign out at an angle away from the homeowners of Hunters Run. Still concerned about the landscaping proposed, and the maintenance of the landscaping placed. We are submitting this as a remonstrance in favor if the conditions and contingencies are met.

Mr. Schneider asked Attorney Tim Kuiper if there was a way that they could place a condition on this that would address the maintenance matter [Mr. Kuiper in background – inaudible].

Mr. Maciejewski asked if there are any further public comments for the Public Hearing. {inaudible from the floor]. Mr. Maciejewski asked the person to come to the podium and state name and address for the record.

Colleen Yost – 9983 Pheasant Lane:

Ms. Yost asked if the property for the sign is actually Franciscans, and the retention area. She would like them to move it to the other side of the street. Ms. Yost was curious if the whole structure could be moved to an entirely different location, off the premises shown.

Mr. Maciejewski and board members showed the design and site plan to Ms. Yost and had a general discussion.

With no further comments from the floor, Mr. Maciejewski closed the Public Hearing portion of the petition and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Schneider clarified his comment concerning the landscape plan as far as the area for placement, to obscure the view of the sign in relation to the homes located in the area.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if there were plans available that would show what the landscape plan would be.

Mr. Hollahan stated they would be placing evergreen type foliage that is great for winter that would not lose volume for that weather condition. However, does not know what type of evergreens. They would be if significant height and planted so that they will grow from that point.

Mr. Maciejewski asked Mr. Hollahan if he was in a position to agree to perpetual maintenance of the landscaping. Mr. Hollahan advised that if that was a condition that there would be no problem with that contingency. Mr. Kuiper and Mr. Maciejewski discussed the legality of the contingency. Mr. Kuiper advised that it would be made part of the motion and a condition of the approval. General discussion ensued as to the enforcement of the condition. Mr. Kuiper advised that whether enforced by Code Enforcement, Building and Planning or the Town Manager; the condition would stand.

Mr. Ryan asked about the brightness of the illumination. Mr. Hollahan advised that the software components have different settings, and if there is a specific “candle lighting” that they want they could have it set, however would need a brighter setting during the day due to the sun.

The sign could be set on a photocell, so as the sun sets it would automatically bring down the brightness of the sign. Mr. Hollahan advised that he would have to go back to “Watchfire” (the company making the sign), to check on what the lowest setting would be. Discussion ensued as to the process and programming of the photocell for the sign.

Mr. Schneider noted that the specifications presented that the brightness is ten times (10x) greater during the day, than it is at night. Mr. Hollahan advised that would be automatic, however it could be programed for it to be brought down even more; somewhere between 30-40%.

Mr. Ryan inquired about a previous request to move back the sign about one (1) foot. Mr. Hollahan advised that was possible and will be redrawn to reflect the change request.

Mr. Schneider stated that he would like to see the masonry taken down a foot, so the sign would be at nine feet (9’), since it is up on a hill already at the location. Mr. Hollahan advised that he would have to take that back to the owners as that is not a decision he can make on their behalf.

The board had general discussion regarding the existing brick, vegetation and bringing the sign down one foot (1’).

Mr. Schneider noted that someone is raising their hand in the back again, Mr. Maciejewski advised that they cannot go back to the public hearing.

Mr. Hollahan did advise that he would not like to have to go through the procedure to come back to the board. Board members discussed conditions that would be placed such as no flash, no scroll, message to hold for six (6) seconds, dusk to dawn limits, brightness settings from the photocell, and no side-to-side motion, amber only as presented.

Mr. Hollahan inquired that if they remove the message center, would they still be approving the top part of the sign? Mr. Maciejewski inquired back, the sign minus the message center, I don’t know why we would object. Board members discussed amongst themselves and agreed.

Mr. Hollahan advised that he just did not want to have to come back for another meeting. So if the owners do not want the message center, can I just center the sign on that wall and not do the angle. More discussion ensued regarding dimensions, angling, cantilevering, height, width, etc. Mr. Schneider suggested that he “go for it”, that if the owners did not like it then they have the option of just amending the structure as discussed, which would not require their approval.

[someone talking in the background] Mr. Maciejewski advised the person that the public comment portion of the meeting was closed and that procedure dictates that they are not allowed to entertain anymore back and forth.

Mr. Maciejewski entertained a motion with the contingencies they have been discussing, subject to the Findings of Fact, which would be attached to any motion.

Mr. Schneider made a motion to approve the sign with the following conditions: that the reader board does not scroll from side to side, flash, time on the message to hold for six (6) seconds, sign shall be set on its lowest illumination setting from dusk to dawn, operated off a photo cell, with amber color with a black background, top of the masonry lowered down to ten foot (10’), with the sign placed at the top at nine foot (9’), landscape buffer is to be erected as shown on the plan to include maintenance and probably with evergreen, and we suggest arborvitae type since they will hold their shape, and we will move the present sign as shown on the masonry structure to be moved further onto the property by at least one foot (1’) to eliminate the cantilever and maintain the same angle.

(no second was forthcoming).

Mr. Hollahan brought back the discussion as to the lettering size on the sign, noting the 210’ distance from 97th Lane, there would be problems in reading the sign, and by the time you get beyond the bank (corner), you are already about forty miles per hour (40 mph), there is still a time issue in trying to get information out there. The owners may look at this and decline it.

Mr. Ryan commented that he knows that Mr. Hollahan has put a lot of work into this, and he appreciates your time, but I am not inclined to second this motion. Mr. Maciejewski seconded the motion.

Roll call vote: Mr. Schneider – Yes, Mr. Ryan – No, Mr. Maciejewski – yes. This is not unanimous so this results in no action. Mr. Kuiper advised that is correct, and suggested the matter deferred to the next meeting.

Mr. Maciejewski entertained a motion to defer this item to the next meeting to allow all the other board members to consider this. Mr. Schneider made a motion to defer this to the April 25, 2016 meeting where we will hopefully have a full board. Mr. Ryan seconded motion.

Roll call vote: Mr. Schneider – yes, Mr. Ryan yes, Mr. Maciejewski – yes. Motion carried 3 ayes – 2 absent.

Mr. Maciejewski advised Mr. Hollahan that he can take it back to the owners, and have additional information of what they have approved, and if for some reason they do not wish to consider that, it is just the sign itself as we discussed, it would just be strictly the height of the masonry and whatever as long it is only 30 square feet.

Mr. Hollahan advised that he would contact the Building and Planning office in advance of the April 25, 2016 meeting with direction as to whether to proceed or withdraw the petition.

Mr. Maciejewski advised that under New Business that we have none, floor is open for Any and All.

Hearing none, the meeting was adjourned at 7:37 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Michelle L. Haluska, Recording Secretary Pro-Tem
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals