PZ - June 19th 2014
Planning & Zoning Commission
Workshop Meeting Minutes
June 19, 2014
The Planning and Zoning Commission met in workshop session on Thurs, June 19, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center, Main Conference Room for a meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Chairman Farmer presided.
Present: Mr. Jim Farmer (Chairman), Mr. Vetus Syracuse (Chairman ProTem), Mr. Garry Regan, Dr. Sue McGrath, and Mr. Paul Fikaris
Also Present: Ms. Diane Calta (Law Department), Mr. Ted Esborn (Economic Development Director), Mr. John Marrelli (Building Commissioner), and Ms. Deborah Garbo (Secretary)
Absent: Mr. Bill Marquardt, Mayor Rinker, Mr. Tom Cappello (Village Engineer), and Mr. David Hartt (Planning Director)
- Section 1185.14; Signs Permitted in Any District
(e) Temporary Signs
- Zoning Code Amendments
“Conditional Use Standards”
- Update on East Commons Development
Chairman Farmer called the meeting to order. This is a workshop meeting of the Planning & Zoning. We won’t be taking a vote on anything tonight. We’ll begin with temporary signs.
Section 1185.14; Signs Permitted in Any District
(e) Temporary Signs
Mr. Marrelli said this has to do with signs on Beta Dr. We’re getting numerous requests for some kind of advertising to the freeway. Planning Dept. sat down and hashed out some details, talked to the clients about it and they’re pretty happy with this. There’re 3 buildings this will come into play with.
Ted Esborn said minus the hotels, it would be the Beta Center, Mayfran & 600 Beta.
Ms. Calta said seems like we’ve been talking about this forever, but conversations have been mostly with the BZA. If I’m repeating myself, let me know. A lot of requests were coming into the BZA for temporary banners. We asked, what’s wrong with having these temp banners on 271? These are temporary permanent signs, if that makes sense. Nowadays if you’re putting up a For Sale / For Lease sign, you’re probably not just putting it up for 6 months. This will allow only those group of buildings that have frontage on 271 to have these signs. They won’t have to come into the BZA to get a variance to put up a sign every 6 months, as long as they comply. They can put up a more permanent sign, but if they want to put one up that’s typically more temporary in material, it has to be maintained. It’s on their property, on their building.
Mr. Marrelli said the renewals were automatic. The owners would come to the BZA and say they still have space to lease and this gives them coverage to the freeway. The renewals were happening continuously. We asked, why don’t we just allow somebody that has a multi-tenant building that has space to lease, to leave the sign up. We sat down, put criteria together as to size, materials & maintenance. That will allow them to leave the For Lease sign there, as long as they keep it maintained. I don’t know that anybody would ever take it down because even if you’re 100% leased, 6 months from now you might have an opening.
Ms. Calta said before what was happening was you had to include your total allowable signage with everything that was on Beta. They were constantly exceeding that and then exceeding the usual size, because you can’t see a tiny sign from 271. We came up with;
(3)(c) The sign shall not exceed 120 square feet of total sign coverage with no more than 25 percent of the 120 square feet or actual total sign coverage, whichever is less, used to identify the entity or individual to be contacted.
Ms. Calta said there was discussion as to whether that turns into a form of advertising, but under the Revised Code, brokers and realtors need to identify themselves on a sign. A lot of these brokers and property managers don’t just represent that building or that owner. It’s probably indirectly a form of advertising. We recommended they at least be able to identify themselves.
Mr. Fikaris states, just from observation, this is generous. I saw one in Macedonia right after you hit 271 south, building on the left, that sign’s about as big as that poster. In Cleveland, you’d think Cleveland, I don’t think they allow anything, and there’s a lot of warehouse down 90. This is something that’s very much going to be permanent.
Mr. Marrelli said right across the freeway, Highland Heights allows their stores to have signs on the backs and fronts of their buildings.
Mr. Syracuse said after reading the BZA minutes, it seemed discussion revolved around the advertising, and how if someone called that number, they could inquire about other states & cities properties too.
Ms. Calta said there’s no way around that, they’re required to do it. It complies with the Revised Code.
Mr. Fikaris notes that we really can’t dictate content.
Ms. Calta said the 25 percent of the 120 square feet seems not too much. This is just to cover those properties that have visibility from 271, they have frontage on 271 and frontage on Beta. That’s 6 properties total. Two are hotels, Mayfran & 3 multi-tenants. We keep saying they’re temporary permanent signs because they’re For Rent, For Lease, For Sale, very specific to those properties with 271 visibility.
Mr. Regan wants to make sure another business owner can’t use these provisions.
Mr. Marrelli said the building you’re in, Mt. Vernon, if they want to put a banner on the front of that building facing Beta Drive, answer is no.
Mr. Regan, so there’s no confusion said that sign is for that building and my building owner can’t go to that building owner and say “Put up a sign for me that says Mt. Vernon”.
Mr. Marrelli replied, can’t do that.
Ted Esborn said Dave & I discussed what might make sense is not moving any further on this until we do something about the front yards of Beta. If there’s an advantage of moving on this section now, we can.
Mr. Marrelli suggests waiting on passing this until we have a full package to include Beta frontage signage. We have time. No one is pressing us for anything. Everyone is happy with what they have now.
Hold on passing temporary sign amendments until language drafted for Beta Drive front yard signage.
Zoning Code Amendments
‘Conditional Use Standards’
Ted Esborn said looking back at P & Z minutes from years past, there’s been much debate and discussion about this very topic. If I’m misunderstanding some of the history how this evolved, please feel free to share.
You have before you the following;
- Print of the Power Point
- 6/19/14 Updated List Residential Districts Proposed Use List
- 6/19/14 Updated List Business Districts Proposed Use List
- Chapter 1177 Standards and Criteria for Conditional Use Permits.
Down the road, we’ll go through these lists with a fine tooth comb to make sure we have each use classified as it should be. Tonight I just want to provide you with a reference.
Power Point Presentation by Ted Esborn (Available upon request)
Introduction Big question I have, and to get a solid answer to this question is what I want more than anything out of this zoning code amendment process, is very frequently do I get the call from someone asking; “Is my USE permitted at this spot?” They don’t want to know what the code says or what our P & Z procedures are. They want to know if this is going to fly or not. If not, they’re going somewhere else. From my point of view, it’s a really important response in that moment. Examples from the last couple weeks; Day Care Center @ East Commons, Church on Beta Dr., Tae Kwan Do @ the Beta Center. None of these lend themselves to an easy yes or no.
Helpful Examples From Outside M.V. Examples pulled from Commerce Park in Beachwood to try and anticipate some other not expressly permitted uses if they were to come to us; Cleveland Pops, Adult Day Care, Hernia Center, The Gathering Place, etc.
Current Process What I do now is take it to John and discuss it. If it doesn’t fit on the permitted list, we tell the person they have to go for a Conditional Use Permit. If they want to pursue, they come here to Planning Commission.
(c) Production-Distribution District This is our permitted use list for production distribution which is most of Beta Dr. We allow offices, laboratories, production of things metal and nonmetal, distribution of things made on Beta, etc. Stop one is, is it on this list?
1149.02 Use District Exceptions If it’s not on the list, this Commission under the code has two different ways to accept a use from the regulations of the district:
(a) Temporary and Conditional Use Permit
(b) Special Use Permit
I think the biggest difference between the two is that special use permits are linked to these lists, U-5 Uses & U-6 Uses. The last item in each of these special permit lists is; “Any other use which the P & Z Commission determines is in keeping with the uses permitted herein”. This catch all at the bottom opens up a special permit into really all things.
The History: Use District Exceptions These are the earliest uses of either of the exception. These are all special use permits:
- 1965 Gas station @ SE corner W.M. & SOM
- 1966 Golf course
- 1971 Village Vet and Highland Rd Baptist Church
- 1972 MV Racquet Club
- 1977 Whitehaven Cemetery
- 1979 Ken’s Auto
- 1982 Dr. Eadie
- 1991 Men’s Hair
- 1996 Quick Lube & Planet Baseball
- 1999 Assisted Living
- 2001 Noreen Londregan Dance School
The History: Use District Exceptions. Big Developments 2002 – 2007 The Hilton Garden Inn generated a ton of discussion in 2003. You’ve got this HUGE development, huge investment and it’s not permitted in the district. There’s clearly a point where this body said we’re going to use conditional use permits and we’re setting up a way to do it with guidelines.
The History: Use District Exceptions. The Not-So Distant Past This is an interesting period 2005 – 2013 where we went from using the special use permit to using the conditional use permit.
Our Recommendation We’re looking for a balance. We don’t want to tie your hands. At the same time, we want to give you a code that you could use when you’re taking actions. We want to put a process & procedure in place so it’s clear what action you’re taking for each applicant.
We’ve known for a long time that the big cry here has been to update the permitted use list, and we have. But there’s no way to make a permitted use list inclusive enough to encompass all of the uses that would benefit M.V.
What should the Process be?
- Is the use listed as permitted on the use list?
- Is the use one that we have identified as a conditional use because it calls for monitoring beyond other uses in the district?
- Is the use substantially similar to the uses in the district such that it should be permitted?
Step 1: Updating the Use List We’ve added uses to the permitted use list.
New permitted Uses discussed in April:
- Restaurants in OL & PD
- Fitness, Physical Improvement, Physical Therapy
- Restricted Retail Sales
- Educational or Training Facilities
Step 2: Updating Conditional Uses These are the steps of modifying our current conditional use process.
- We talked about doing away with U-5, U-6 & U-7. It gets way too confusing when you’ve got groups of uses that don’t line up with districts. You have a group of U-5 uses that are specially permitted in the local business district but it doesn’t say anything about whether they’re permitted in another district. We want to do away with the Use Classifications and just deal with districts.
- Folding Special Uses into Conditional Uses
- Taking the lists of U-5 and U-6 and turning them into the list of Conditional Uses
- Adding conditional uses that are required by Ohio (e.g. child care in residential)
- Adding other uses that require additional monitoring
- Developing area regulations for the conditional uses
- Developing specific regulations for the conditional uses
This concludes ‘Conditional Uses’ Power Point Presentation.
Standards and Criteria for Conditional Use Permits
Ted Esborn refers to the table on pg 1. These first few uses; Family Day Care and Adult Day Care (Adult group home) are uses that are required by Law. Other uses on list are Place of Worship, Library, Private School, Public School, etc.
These conditional uses will have their own size and setback standards that are distinct from the districts.
On pages 5 & 6 you have the specific regulations:
(b) Place of Worship, Library, Private School, Public School, Public Recreation Building, Community Center, Conference Center, Hotel/Motel
(c) Electric and Utility Substation, Water Tower, Utility Distribution
(e) Auto Repair
Ted said, that’s where I wanted to go from here. I wanted to give that as an introduction, a history to why we wound up proposing something that looks like this and to make sure everybody sees how this new proposal chapter works with the table and additional regulations.
Ted asked, first and foremost, is this something that works for the Commission? If not, what else might we do? I recognize this is a different kind of conditional use permit than we’ve been using recently, mainly because it’s pre-identified uses.
Mr. Marrelli asked, what are you going to do with standards that we already have uses? For example:
(e) Auto Repair
(1) No inoperative motor vehicles, equipment, or parts shall be permitted to remain outside on the property.
We have Ken’s Auto that does auto repair, filled with cars that are inoperative. Same with Deacon’s. How do we handle people that are already in place? Do we deem them grandfathered in subject to this?
Ted Esborn replied that’s a good question. Ken’s got a special use permit from 1979.
Mr. Marrelli said they could be considered a non-conforming use at that point. Now that you have these lists, you have to go out and look at them. What about Fisher’s Tavern? What about Ken’s Auto? What about Exceleration?
Ted will do that and go to the lists themselves and figure out if there’re any other uses that we want to put on there.
Ted continued, we’ve got these new permitted uses, but remember in Chapter 1173, the chapter for those commercial districts, we have additional regulations for restaurants, fitness and retail. If we already have separate regulations for them, the way we’re doing it now is in the list there’s a P for permitted and an * for special regulations. That kind of seems to me like the conditionals we’re talking about.
Mr. Marrelli said they were conditional, now you’re shifting them into permitted.
Ms. Calta said anything that’s permitted has requirements. But you’re right, you’re turning it from a conditional to a permitted with separate conditions.
Mr. Marrelli asked, if a fitness company comes in that does battling ropes & yoga, what are the requirements for that kind of use? Is there a minimum or maximum square footage? Certain hours of operation?
Ted used restaurant for example; permitted to have a maximum floor area of 4,000 square feet and located within a building so the restaurant does not comprise more than twenty-five (25%) percent of the first floor area and no drive-up or drive-thru windows permitted. If we’re going to have uses identified as being o.k., I don’t really see why we’re making restaurants, fitness & retail permitted with regulations. That seems to be what conditional is all about.
Ms. Calta explains. We’re still saying a conditional use comes in, it’s on the list as a permitted conditional use, it still has to come to Planning. If you put it in as a permitted use with a condition, it doesn’t have to come to Planning for any additional conditions on it because you’ve already set the standard for that permitted use.
Mr. Regan asked, how close are we treading to changing the zoning?
Ms. Calta replied, right now we’re not. We’re just expanding uses within the zoning.
- Use Variance
Mr. Syracuse suggests taking these on a case by case basis, depending on the property and where it’s located, rather than expanding the permitted uses. They could potentially sneak their way into places based on the code. Kind of handcuffed in a sense to say it’s permitted, we just have to have conditions on it. It might be something we completely don’t want to approve. One way around that would be to consider having a process by which there’s both conditional use permits and Use Variances. There’s nothing in our code that allows for a Use Variance. If we had something that allowed use variances, things like a hotel or library would then be able to operate without having to come back every two years and ask for an extension of their conditional use. We want to permit restaurants on Beta Dr. pursuant to certain conditions. If they get a variance, they could stay there. If someone else comes in, then they don’t need a conditional use, they already have a variance. I wouldn’t be opposed to considering if that would be a process that might work along with the conditional uses.
Ms. Calta said I know where you’re going. Joe has given an opinion on Use Variances. That’s considered rezoning. I’ll get you a copy.
Mr. Syracuse asked, if they were to allow that process for it, even if it went through Board of Appeals, that would be considered rezoning?
Ms. Calta replied, when you start getting into uses that aren’t permitted in a zoning classification……..we’re sort of starting to split hairs here between conditional uses and what you described as a Use Variance.
Mr. Syracuse said a Use Variance runs with the land.
Ms. Calta said rezoning in the Village has to go on the ballot. Any rezoning where you’re adding a use that it isn’t zoned for, you’re going down the path where you need to go to the ballot.
Mr. Syracuse asked how conditional uses are permitted.
Ms. Calta replied because they’re considered to be temporary in nature, similar in nature and there’s conditions placed on them.
Mr. Syracuse thinks it would be easier to allow places that we want to allow. Such as the Hilton Garden Inn, instead of giving them a conditional use, we could have maybe not had them there.
Ms. Calta said we’ve gone down this path. We can add that hotel as a permitted use within this zone.
Mr. Syracuse asked, isn’t that rezoning?
Ms. Calta said no. We’re not rezoning it, we’re adding a use. We’re basing it off of uses that have already come into the Planning Commission for review. Things like restaurants, hotels, medical and fitness.
Mr. Syracuse said I’d like to see the Law Dept’s legal opinion for my sake, so I understand the legal ramifications if it were to become considered rezoning.
- New & Innovative Ideas on Beta
Mr. Regan said I’d like to go back to the conversation we have every time this comes up. Beta businesses have changed over the years. People’s desire to come into the Village has changed over the years. Access to the Village has changed over the years. I have a problem when I see a building owner has made a large investment, I don’t care how many times he’s gotten his money back, I don’t count other people’s money. Anyway, he’s got an empty building out there and he wants to get it filled. How much obligation do we have to him/her? Somebody with a good idea that maybe just doesn’t fit. Someone that’s seen all the people that have come into the Village for work over the last 10 years, whether it be a restaurant idea or recreational. I agree, some are lousy ideas. Is there something we can do that allows them to present the opportunity without them getting the daylights beat out of them or us getting the daylights beat out of us for considering something like that?
Ted refers to recent calls received for Day Care Center @ East Commons, Church on Beta Dr., Tae Kwan Do @ the Beta Center. These are uses that would come to you. I think Tae Kwan Do is a good example of the similar use determination. If we didn’t specifically include Martial Arts in the zoning code, the similar use determination would allow the Tae Kwan Do business to come to P & Z and say “We think we’re substantially similar to fitness & dance”. P & Z might agree and permit them because they are.
Mr. Regan said somebody’s going to say they’re taking up 700-900 sq. ft. of space, one Instructor and only generating $42/month for the Village. In the meantime Mr. Building Owner’s getting his whole rent.
Ms. Calta said that’s why I think the conditional uses have been so liberal, because we want to have the property owners filling their buildings. But we also don’t want to go down this path where every place has a fitness center. Then what kind of revenue are you generating for the Village? You have to strike that balance.
- Guidelines / Standards when applying for CUP
Ted Esborn said when we were hearing the applications from Playground World & Sky Zone, part of our analysis was the economic, and the guidelines allow us to do that. It seemed dangerously close to that becoming too big a criteria for a conditional use permit. If we were to base a conditional use decision too heavily on economic benefit to Mayfield Village, I don’t know that we want to go there.
Mr. Marrelli asked, how do you feel about expanding the 10 guidelines that we use to grade everyone that comes in? Or do you think they’re adequate.
Ted Esborn asked the Commission, how have they been used in the CUP process thus far?
Dr. McGrath replied, I think some kind of guidelines are essential. We each have our own personal good or bad reason to approve or deny. That’s not what this Commission is supposed to be doing. Adding to what Garry said about bringing something economically, how about what it costs the Village? Can’t tell you how many times I read the Police blotter and our Police are at the Hilton Garden all the time. Guidelines are essential, they give us a starting point to evaluate each request.
Ted Esborn said a use that’s not expressly permitted, we bring it here. We’re asking this body to evaluate the overall worth of that business to the Village. Is that where you want this Commission to be, in that position?
Ms. Calta replied, that’s where we started this discussion. We understand new uses like a bicycle shop that makes custom bikes has a retail component. That’s o.k., it’s unique & different. He’s making something on site and needs a little retail. We want to take some of these things and put them into the permitted use list, but you’re still going to have the conditional uses. We can’t contemplate all these new things coming up. From a legal standpoint, you need the guidelines, you need a set that’s standard and it’s applied to everyone. Indirectly, to answer your question, we don’t want to put everything to the Planning Commission to weigh the good, bad & ugly, but you’re still going to have to weigh them. You all have to put your own determination into these standards that you review. Some of you may put a very heavy importance upon the revenue.
Dr. McGrath said that’s why there’s not just one of us.
Ms. Calta agreed. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
Mr. Regan said Playground World challenged us because we have dance studios & fitness.
Mr. Syracuse said kids don’t go there for fitness, they go there to play.
Mr. Marrelli said we also tie our fitness into educational type fitness, training. Playground World was going to fill the place with playground sets.
Mr. Regan said if they were selling playground equipment I would have been o.k. with it.
Mr. Marrelli said if they were manufacturing the equipment, they would be here today. If they would order their pieces, bring them in on trucks, sell kits to people, and take them out and build them, they would be manufacturing and permitted by right. But that wouldn’t have allowed all the displays outside and party rooms. That’s what they were really looking for. A track record has some kind of substantiation. We’re all aware the Dance Studio’s been operating for years with no problems. The workout facilities have been going strong for years with no problems.
Mr. Syracuse refers to number 8 of the guidelines:
(8) “Will provide benefits to the community i.e. medical, educational, technical, retail because, at least to some degree, the proposed use is not currently available in the Village or that the community is underserved by the type/use being proposed”.
By doing this, you’re basically saying it’s so similar that we’re going to allow it even though those needs might sufficiently be met. I think we need to revisit this number 8 because that wouldn’t necessarily apply.
Mr. Marrelli said when the Trampoline Park wanted to come in, we did some investigating and found out there were a lot of injuries on these trampolines. Westlake had already passed it and their Fire Dept. was there all the time. Our Fire Dept. shared they have enough runs going to the Assisted Living, they don’t need another place.
Ted Esborn said both Sky Zone & Playground World remind me of something important I want to talk about. As things are right now, anybody who wants it, gets their day in front of the Planning & Zoning Commission. Are you o.k. with that? I suppose both these could try and make a case that they’re similar, but they probably wouldn’t if they knew that’s what it was going to be based on.
Dr. McGrath said simply being similar isn’t enough. You still have to get past this Board. I know I rely on the brilliance of John Marrelli, our Fire Dept. and our Police Dept. I don’t think we’re making decisions just from our own heads.
Ted said as long as there’s no resistance from the Commission hearing all applicants as opposed to having some that don’t make it to this Board.
Mr. Regan feels that’s how we operate now. People come to John with ideas, he says it’s not going to fly and doesn’t take it to the Commission.
Mr. Marrelli confirms he’s done that. There’s been people who started down that road, started to incur expenses. I tell them I don’t think this is going to take off, but if you want to keep going, that’s o.k. We had that with the Go-Cart guy. He never got to the Commission, but he was spending money hand over fist. We convinced him a Go-Cart track is not educational, physical fitness, it’s not this or that, not similar to anything. Why would you want to push the envelope? He finally got the hint and bailed.
Ted Esborn relayed the same to Playground World, said it would be problematic, but he was someone who pushed through.
Dr. McGrath thinks that’s why it’s a multi-layered process. It’s you and you as a gatekeeper and us working as a group. We call in the experts to give us information. I think the process works. I don’t feel overworked.
Mr. Regan asked if the “Guidelines” can get passed as part of the code.
Ms. Calta replied we talked about that in the past. We wanted to keep them more as guidelines and not standards because we want them to be flexible. Everyone gets them when they come in for their application. They’re referenced in the code.
Mr. Regan said I’m o.k. with them spending money if they think they have a good idea.
Mr. Marrelli said nobody’s denied their day in court.
Ms. Calta said, from my perspective, most people come in and want to know what’s going to happen. They want you to have that crystal ball. Is this a yes or a no? You can’t tell them that.
Mr. Syracuse said when they come in they should be asking for the guidelines they need to get an approval. That should be in their presentation, we shouldn’t require this. What I do as an Attorney when I go into other communities and argue my case for a CUP, I go through that list one by one. We can direct our questions towards that. We don’t have to give more weight to one or the other. It’s completely within our discretion. Garry said when they fill that out, half the time they’re lying through their teeth. Vetus said we should be able to see through as much of that as we can, at least see through the potential that that could happen. That’s on us to make that determination. We have the ability to restrict them further on some things.
Mr. Marrelli said that’s why they call them “conditions”. You put the condition on it.
Mr. Syracuse said that’s why I didn’t want to change the 2-year renewals when we talked about it. Within two years, adjacent property owners and other people in the community can raise their concerns if they see a problem. Then it’s up to us to determine if we’re going to allow them to continue to operate. I like the procedure we have in place.
Ms. Calta said I think what comes to you is typically confusing because that’s the nature of the use, it has pieces and parts that fit within some things, that don’t fit within others. We’re not trying to bring confusing things to be frustrating but that’s what they are. We’re going to start seeing more and more unique features of uses that are going to come. If you guys are all comfortable with the process, I feel like I’m used to it. It seems to vet things out pretty well.
Mr. Regan said we need clarity but we also want to maintain flexibility. I think that’s great considering the changing times, changing dynamics of our community. Things you didn’t think would fly are now taking off. I’m good with the process that’s in place.
Maintain existing decision making process and procedure that’s in place when applying for Conditional Use Permit.
- Delete “Special” & “Temporary” language
Ted Esborn recommends deleting “Special” & “Temporary” language and incorporating all into “Conditional Use Permit”.
Ms. Calta concurs. Without the U-5 and U-6, you don’t need “special” because it’s all going to be conditional and it’s all going to be temporary.
- Expanding Permitted Use List
Mr. Regan asked Ted, what would you do with a guy that wants to acquire one of the Beta buildings, tear it down or put a lot of money into it to change it to two or three restaurants or a mini retail center?
Mr. Syracuse said that’s what I was suggesting with the “Use Variance”. If there’s a way to permit that in our code without it having to go to a vote. Instead of bringing a Library or Hotel in for a two-year conditional use permit, we could have them apply for a Use Variance that runs with the land rather than applying for a CUP.
Dr. McGrath said we’ve had it go the other direction. We’ve had to threaten to pull the Hilton Garden’s conditional use because of their problems with parking. They have not held up their end of the conditional use. If we would have given them a Use Variance for good, I don’t know that we would have had any leverage.
Ms. Calta said whatever comes in you have to balance those things. If someone comes in with a mini retail shopping plaza, the first thing that comes to mind is what kind of revenue are you going to get from that in comparison to what was there or what could be there. Some of these things are more amenities to Beta Dr., but you don’t want them to take over Beta. Dr. This is it, this is your commercial area.
Mr. Regan said Beta Dr is different than it was 15 years ago. A lot of improvements and a lot more people working at Preformed, Progressive, Hilton Garden, & QED. Somebody will say, I can service those people and by the same token anybody that wants to come across SOM or Wilson Mills. I have a coffee shop here that you didn’t have before, or I have a dance shop and can supply your Yoga & Dancers will ballet shoes, yoga gear, etc.
Ms. Calta said maybe your balance there right now is the prime balance you want. You have all those people in those businesses to generate the need for the amenities. You don’t want it to flip the other way, where you have all these amenities and you start losing the big business.
Mr. Regan said yes, but I’d like to see that person come in and justify why rehabbing this building to 7 shops will be a benefit to Beta & the Village.
Ms. Calta asked about Beta vacancy.
Ted Esborn replied, 20% vacancy on Beta now.
Mr. Marrelli said you have to consider, you can’t get any more land, this is it. You can’t screw it up. If you give away 100,000 square feet to somebody jumping on a trampoline, you pretty much shot yourself in the foot.
Dr. McGrath said that’s part of the reason that balance is fluid. I don’t think you can ever say we want to sign everybody to long term, 20 years. Things will change. We have to have the flexibility to say we’ve got enough dance studios. That’s why we have to maintain the 2-year renewal.
Mr. Marrelli said you can do that. Your hands are on the controls.
Ms. Calta said some of these buildings may fall in that category. Somebody will come in and buy the land for a cheap price because the price has gone so down. The tenants even if you have it filled aren’t generating revenue, so somebody will buy it cheap, take it all down and put up something like a University of Phoenix, or Corporate as in Landerbrook. Those are multi-tenant buildings and you might start seeing more amenities within the buildings as opposed to amenities separately. A lot of it will be market driven.
Mr. Marrelli said we’ve added cafeterias to the accessory uses. If Mt. Vernon took a couple of the 1st floor lobby offices, gutted them and put in a coffee shop, fine. Today if they tried to do that, they’d have to come for a conditional use permit. The battle cry has been on for years, we need places to eat, we need a coffee shop, we need to change some of the uses, and we’re not doing the metal production like we were. We have to open up our eyes to what’s current, and David and Ted have done that, plugging a bunch of that in.
Chairman Farmer said we needed that.
Ted Esborn said we should focus our attention on adding permitted uses. With our vision of education, if we expanded the permitted use list to include education tomorrow, the University of Phoenix would be permitted.
Mr. Syracuse asked, what do you interpret as a Place of Worship?
Ted Esborn said this is somebody who wants to take a Beta Dr. storefront and locate a Church there. If the Pastor calls me back tomorrow, tells me he thinks the space is great and wants to take the next step, my answer is alright, we need to get you on the Planning Commission agenda.
Dr. McGrath said places of worship have changed in the past several decades. Big Churches are expensive.
Ted agreed. A lot of Congregations can work out arrangements with time now.
Mr. Fikaris said they can almost sub-let. We keep passing the line between what we think is good and what is permitted or not. There’s got to be some sort of defense. They shouldn’t shape our zoning, but the owners of these buildings are willing to rent knowing full well that if stuff starts to get scarce, they find ways to get those people out of there, so we don’t have an issue there. A School is going to have a ton of traffic, a huge detriment to Beta in my opinion. Those are the considerations that we’re not excluding, but taking into consideration. The economic thing we’re kind of crossing the line saying “that’s not enough for us”. It’s how we weigh things. My thing is the defense thing when somebody says hey, I look pretty good here, just because you guys don’t like me. The trampoline place was the thought of injury. That trumped everything, because that could have been economically, who knows. That’s our role, because we don’t want that. If a 3rd hotel came in, we’d be very skeptical. I think The Holiday Inn gets just as much in the Police blotter as the Hilton Garden.
Ted Esborn said, you’re not going to take a vote on every single guideline. However, my last concern is this, envision a well-funded Playground World hell bent on getting that location, they’ll take this as far as they need to take it. I feel they’ll wind up shining a spotlight on this decision making process and the guidelines, and they’ll look at a lot of other decisions that the Commission has made. That’s part of what I was talking about when I said the pressure of the position you guys can be put in.
Dr. McGrath said, not to pick on Playground World, but set those guidelines aside, they had at least 3 things that were not code compliant. I think we were pretty safe there.
Mr. Marrelli said if you ever had to defend your position, you can say look, these are the standards, this is the guideline we use for everybody. It’s all equal, we’re not arbitrary. You have something to stand on besides I like it or I don’t like it.
Ms. Calta said as in case law that comes out of Board of Appeals decisions when you’re granting variances for practical difficulties. There are standards, just like these guidelines. You want the Board to articulate that discussion, in the minutes, and in the BZA ultimate decision. It’s the same thing here, you’re looking at guidelines and you want to have discussions about those guidelines and make your decisions based upon evaluating those guidelines. Yes, you can defend it, and you may set a precedent.
Mr. Regan said a small business guy who thinks he has the right to come in, you could cost him to death, between a traffic survey, Police Dept. might be concerned about safety, you’d better justify.
Ted Esborn said my example of a well-funded Playground World, there is no well-funded Playground World, it’s Playground World. If it’s a well-funded applicant, chances are it’s going to be a good application.
Mr. Regan said the only thing I worry about on our decisions is are they so off beat that they die on the vine? Holcomb’s was well funded, was a good plan, it just sold.
Ted Esborn said looking back to the 2007 conditional use permit for Jump-N-Sprout Day Care, goes back to what Michael Gatto asked us this morning about Day Care. This could be the use that puts East Commons development forward.
Mr. Marrelli thinks the marketing for that is for Progressive’s Campus II.
Mr. Fikaris asked if there’s been any talk about limiting the number of a certain business, i.e. the multiple Mattress Stores & Rug Shops in Mayfield Heights.
Mr. Marrelli thinks what happened to them is when they opened the door to retail on Mayfield Rd, they didn’t get specific, and didn’t control it. Anybody selling anything was good.
Mr. Regan said somebody must have done some kind of marketing study.
Mr. Marrelli said part of our commitment is for the applicant to present some kind of business plan and show us they did some kind of market study.
Ted Esborn concludes stating I think I have the information I need. If we’re doing less of the restructuring, then we can look more closely at the permitted uses. Given what you said tonight, what’s more important is to comb through the use list and make it what we want it to be.
Ongoing. Next workshop discussion meeting July 17 @ 6:30 p.m.
East Commons Development Update
Mr. Marrelli said we had a staff meeting on this project a couple days ago and met with the Applicant this morning. We went through all the site details and The Development Agreement. They wanted to come to the Board and pretty much tell you they have part of the landscaping plan, utility plan and what size gas line they’re going to run down the road.
We said look, let’s work this all out before we go to Planning Commission. So when you do go to the workshop, all the details will be flushed out and the Engineer, Law Dept., Planning Dept. and Building Dept. are all good. All the requirements are met and then we’ll go there.
Chairman Farmer thanked Mr. Marrelli.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.