BOA - October 15th 2013

Oct 15, 2013

 The Board of Appeals met in regular session on Tues, Oct 15, 2013 at 7:35 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center Conference Room. Chairman ProTem Fikaris presided.

(Click here for a print friendly/pdf document)


Present: Mr. Paul Fikaris (Chairman ProTem), Mrs. Shirley Shatten, Mr. Pat Caticchio, and Mr. William Russ

Absent: Mr. Joseph Prcela (Chairman) and Ms. Diane Calta (Law Department)

Also Present: Mr. John Marrelli (Building Commissioner) and Ms. Deborah Garbo (Secretary)


Mrs. Shatten, seconded by Mr. Russ made a motion to approve the Minutes of Aug 20, 2013.    


Ayes: Mr. Fikaris, Mrs. Shatten, Mr. Caticchio, Mr. Russ
Nays:   None                                         

Motion Carried. Minutes Approved as Written.



Webber Wood Medinger (Former Chelm Properties)
760 Beta Drive
A Sign Above

  1. A request for a 28 sq ft area variance from Section 1185.15 (f) to allow for a temporary single sided leasing banner on the building at 760 Beta Drive facing 1-271.


Abuting Property Owners:

Beta Drive: 6671, 767-781, 761, 701, 600, 700, (731/735/739), 6685, 6650, 660, (6690/6700), 6680, 6660, 6670, 681, 780, 651, (730/740/750/760)


Chairman ProTem Fikaris called the meeting to order reciting area variance request for 760 Beta Dr. to allow for placement of a temporary leasing banner, Case #2013-04.   


Chairman ProTem Fikaris stated anyone wishing to speak must be sworn in, administering the oath to the Board Members, Applicants, & Appellants and asked anyone wishing to speak to state their name and address for the record.

David Smith with A Sign Above, 8062 Ravenna Rd, Twinsburg Ohio introduced himself. I’m here representing the client Webber Wood Medinger.

Mr. Marrelli asked if they bought or are they just managing these buildings.

David Smith replied we work with Webber Wood Medinger on properties they’re either brokering or managing. I couldn’t answer your question as to what phase they’re in with this building.    

Mr. Marrelli said that banner’s been on and off that building for about 5 years. I couldn’t tell you if they’re getting any lease business from that or not. You probably don’t know that either.

David Smith replied unfortunately I don’t. I know with Webber Wood, Grubb & Ellis & Daus, they do push their signs heavily. They rely on signage intensively. Yes, the internet’s a great place to search for property, but I see that landlords and building owners use signage on properties as their focal point for advertisement. I know they recognize the hundred thousands of cars that stream by there as being a part of that.

Mr. Marrelli said our sign ordinance really doesn’t address the rear of the buildings except for access to garages and rear entries. This sign has been on the freeway side as we said for 5 or 6 years off and on. It’s too big according to our laws. Even if it was in the front it’s too big by 28 sq ft. We’ve been fortunate that the other landlords haven’t decided to put stuff up by the freeway. Apparently their signage in the front is sufficient.

Mr. Caticchio said the last time we took up this matter we put some stipulations in there.

Mr. Marrelli confirmed they were allowed to hang it for 6 months, then it had to come down for a minimum of 30 days, then they could come back for another request.

Chairman ProTem Fikaris asked if the 216-464-7100 phone number represents the leasing of just this building or multiple properties by this owner.

David Smith replied that number rings the agent that’s handling this building. I imagine she’s brokering several properties.

Mr. Caticchio said I suggest we table this until we have someone from the owner’s office here. I don’t think we should be discussing this without that representative here. 

Mr. Marrelli made that request. I talked to our Planning Department who was going to try and get somebody from the company here.

Mr. Caticchio said let’s table this. Tell these people if they don’t have enough interest in their own building, then we tell them to take the sign down. That’s my opinion.

David Smith noted, they hire us as a consultant to represent them. We pull permits all across the country, for not just them, for other facilities that we work with. I certainly understand Mr. Caticchio’s concern.   

Mr. Caticchio said we’re not arguing about the sign at all. We’re arguing about representation. Someone from the organization should be here. We’ve been renewing this thing. What’s happening is you’re taking us for granted. I don’t like being taken for granted. If they can’t come here and talk to us face to face, I don’t think we should consider it.

David Smith said we’re representing Webber Wood which just only recently took over the leasing of this property.

Mr. Marrelli said the other people didn’t lease any space in 5 years, why does Webber Wood think they’re going to lease space now with that sign?

David Smith said the same way anyone else vying for business does. They have certain avenues and ways to bring business to that property.

Mr. Marrelli said you’re in the sign business. You probably know better than anybody that after a sign is up for so long, nobody sees it anymore.

David Smith said I’ve noticed one thing being in the sign business. I’ve worked with A Sign Above for 25 years. Before that, I would certainly say when I drove down the road I didn’t look at signs unless I was looking for a destination I was going to. Much like this, when you’re in the market for something it’s funny how things tend to jump out at you more. If I’m looking for a fast food place, I pick up those things. I think in a market like this for a banner on a building, it’s not going to catch my eye because I’m not looking for 60,000 sq feet. But if I am, that’s going to catch my eye. That’s going to drive me to making that phone call. I think it’s indispensible for marketing of a property such as this.

Chairman ProTem Fikaris doesn’t think we’re questioning the effectiveness of the sign. I think the questions we have would be for the owner on a leasing route. This is a great idea if it represents this agent. He’s got a big sign on 271 and a lot of business coming in. What prevents somebody neighboring or abutting that isn’t in that business that wants a sign? In my recollection, sign folks make a great argument about marketing. It always then falls on the Village for us to provide additional marketing or preventative marketing outside of what’s allowed.

David Smith thinks his client would certainly be willing and agree to the idea of having a time limit on the banner. Then they could come back in and look at the effectiveness of it to see if leasing has taken place.   

Mrs. Shatten asked if they have a sign on Beta in front of the building. 

Mr. Marrelli said they do.

Chairman ProTem Fikaris said if this is the same building we did a few years ago, we’ll assume that sign came down.

Mr. Marrelli said it had to because this is a different phone number.

David Smith confirmed the sign that was there was taken down.

Chairman ProTem Fikaris said the burden of the conditions placed should be on the applicant, but typically it falls on the Village, i.e. they’ll come back after 30 days and everybody forgets about it by then.

David Smith said we’d certainly be willing to step into that. I have six permits I’m working on right now across the country. We make those connections all the time. I have a contact in Columbus that rotates their permits every six months. It’s just a matter of that phone call for another six months.

Mr. Marrelli said except you need a variance for this one which requires a meeting.

Mrs. Shatten said if they lease the property from this sign, it helps our revenues.

Mr. Marrelli said not to disregard your point but I think people go on the internet for this kind of stuff. You can see pictures of the inside / outside of the building, find out how many sq feet, how much it is and who to call, what it has i.e. dock doors. I don’t know if that sign triggers anything or not. It hasn’t for 5 years. Not that we don’t want to lease it, we do. Matter of fact, I drove somebody over there to lease that spot. Deacon’s is under construction and didn’t have anywhere to wash & prep their cars. Jim Deacon’s leasing space there. A lot of people call here. Our Planning Dept has a list of vacancy & contacts. The sign might or might not do something, so far it’s been not. 

Mr. Russ doesn’t see how it’ll hurt. What’s it going to hurt to put it up? 

Mr. Marrelli said it hurts if everybody starts doing it.

Mr. Russ said that’s true. Like you said Pat, if the owner isn’t interested enough to be here, why should we.


Mr. Caticchio, seconded by Mr. Fikaris made a motion to TABLE proposal until the next regularly scheduled meeting date at which we have other business. No special meeting for this proposal.

Mr. Marrelli said that could be 6 months.

Mr. Caticchio said if they don’t care, why should I care?

David Smith said I’m sorry, I don’t think it’s fair to assume they don’t care. They hired us to represent them.

Mr. Caticchio said they should have sent somebody who is knowledgeable about that building, knows the history of the building, somebody who knows what has already been done in the past. Yes, we hire people, but we hire people who have the same knowledge as the owners.

David Smith said we were instructed hopefully that the banner would be replacing what was falling in line with the variance permit that was previously granted. They wanted to follow suit.

Mr. Caticchio said we have questions you can’t answer.

Mrs. Shatten asked if there’re new owners of the building.

David Smith replied it’s the brokerage company who is marketing for the owners that I represent. It’s their color scheme. That’s the phone number for the brokerage company; Webber Wood Medinger.

Mrs. Shatten said if the owners are in China or Japan, do we want the broker/manager here?

Mr. Caticchio said yes. The Real Estate Brokers who are managing the property. It should be either the owner or a duly qualified representative selected by the owner, one or the other. 

Mr. Russ said but the individual here is a representative of the owner.

David Smith clarified. I am being paid by the brokerage firm.

Mr. Caticchio asked, do you know historically when they came before us, how long that sign’s been up there and why we set standards such as the sign coming down for a 30 day period after it’s been up for six months?

David Smith replied, if you’re talking about the ownership, I can’t speak to that. This brokerage firm can’t have the weight of the sins of the people who brokered before.

Chairman ProTem Fikaris to Mr. Smith, you represent Webber Wood and Webber Wood represents the owner. Your vocation is signs, correct?

David Smith replied yes.


AYES: Mr. Fikaris     
NAYS: Mrs. Shatten, Mr. Caticchio, Mr. Russ                                    

Motion to TABLE denied.



Mr. Russ, seconded by Mrs. Shatten made a motion to approve a 28 sq ft area variance from Section 1185.15 (f) to allow for a temporary single sided leasing banner on the building at 760 Beta Drive as noted:

  • In accordance with Section 1185.15 (f): For Rent, Lease, or Sale Signs shall be permitted for a maximum six month period.
  • Sign must be removed after maximum allowed six month period (April 15, 2014). Application for new variance can not be submitted for a minimum 30 day period following removal of sign.
  • For any future application for new variance, there must be in attendance; the Real Estate Brokers who are managing the property, the owner, or a duly qualified representative selected by the owner.



AYES: Mrs. Shatten, Mr. Caticchio, Mr. Russ
NAYS: Mr. Fikaris                                

Motion Carried.  Variance Approved.

Right to Appeal

Chairman ProTem Fikaris stated written notice will be mailed by the Building Department confirming the decision and any interested party has the right to appeal within 10 days.


Chairman ProTem Fikaris asked, if some guy calls tomorrow and rents a portion of or the whole building, does he take the sign down?

Mr. Marrelli replied no. There will always be space, people come and go. Anytime there’s 10 sq ft for lease, that sign will be up.

Mr. Caticchio asked David Smith if he knows how many square feet are vacant and how long they’ve been vacant.

David Smith doesn’t have that answer.


Mr. Fikaris, seconded by Mr. Russ made a motion to adjourn the meeting.


Ayes:    All
Nays:   None                           

Motion Carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.