November 25, 2013

Harrison Township Zoning Board of Appeals

Hearing November 25, 2013

Applicant: Barbara Younkin – Appeal for Notice of Zoning Violation Article XXIX; Signs

Address:              1433 Duvall Road

Lockbourne, OH 43137

Property Address:           11015 US Route 23

Lockbourne, OH 43137

The hearing was called to order by chair, Leah Black, at 7:00pm

Roll Call for Commission members:        Leah Black – Chair

Larry Smith

Kenny Cookson

Frank Miles

Peggy Egbert – absent

Present:               Barbara Younkin, 1433 Duvall Road, Lockbourne, OH 43137

Larry Valentine, 1433 Duvall Road, Lockbourne, OH 43137

Robert Gibbs 206 North London Street, Mt. Sterling, OH 43143

Todd Younkin 217 Ashville Fairfield Road, Ashville, OH 43103

Alan Sedlak 35 East Main Street, Ashville, OH 43103

Minutes from the October meeting were not read due to the special hearing status.

Legal Notice was read by secretary, Robin Welsh.

Hearing Ground Rules were read by secretary, Robin Welsh.

Joe DeFelice, Harrison Township Zoning Inspector shared how the violation was issued. He shared a second sign has been added to the outside of the building since the violation was originally sent. At the time of the first application all information required in Section 6.03 of the Official Zoning Regulations were provided. In this written part of the application section E stated the signage would remain as it is currently. The original plan for Benchmark which originally requested the rezoning of the property was approved. Signs were only talked about during the hearing when Rondi asked about signs as stated in the meeting notes from December 10, 2012:

“Rondi asked if there were any plans to change the signage. Todd indicated that the new tenant would use the current sign structure already in place, just replacing with their own signs. Joe indicates that based on the current plan, the sign would need to remain the same size.”

Joe gave references for cases of conflict showing technical specifications take precedence over plan drawings. On new drawings if revisions are made on construction plans they should be highlighted with a cloud drawn around the revisions as well as around the date of the revisions. At the Zoning Commission meeting in July Trevor Younkin requested Joe to give him a few days to resolve the issue. Joe DeFelice received the following email from Todd Younkin on October7, 2013:

Dear:  Joe DeFelice;

This is Todd Younkin it is my understanding you have been to visit the lease holder at the US RT 23 and ST Rt. 762  intersection @ the 11015 US RT. 23 address regarding signage.  I respect the fact you are doing what you feel is expected of a zoning inspector.  However, I have instructed the tenant to put the signage where indicated on the approved signed plan and request that you do not bother him any further.  We at this point have retained legal counsel and will peruse the lay out shown on the plan we were issued back from the Harrison Township trustees.  If you would like to discuss it further,  I would be happy to give you our legal representative’s contact information.      Thanks in advance for your time.

At this time Joe felt communication had broken down and a violation was issued.

Joe recommended Barb Younkin return to the Zoning Commission for a modification of the planned business current zoning to include the current sign attached to building and submit a plan with a different location for the sign that is on the residential property.

Larry Valentine stated at the Pickaway Planning Commission meeting where the Harrison Township Zoning Commission recommended the application for change in zoning, nothing was stated about the signage. The application was recommended to by the Pickaway County Planning Commission and referred to the Harrison Township Trustees for approval.   No concerns were brought up by the Harrison Township Trustees at the meeting where the zoning changes were approved. “If they thought there was a conflict between the map and the narrative, it was never brought up.” The map shows the location of the signs referred to in the violation.

Attorney Alan Sedlak asked Joe DeFelice where the reference for Section E was found. Attorney Sedlak then asked the board to refer to Section 19.03.03, Criteria for Approval. He stated the narrative is not a technical specification. It is just a proposed use. “The site map is part of the development plan. The trustees approved the site map. “

Joe stated the proposal is part of the application. To say just the site plan was approved is incorrect. There were questions asked twice and nothing was stated about signs.

Barbara Younkin stated after the Zoning meeting in July she was contacted by Trevor. Calls were made to Joe regarding the signs. The signs were moved according to the site map.

Larry Valentine stated materials were given weeks before the hearing giving the commission ample times to review. Then the General Business request was denied and the Planned Business recommended by the Zoning Commission.

Todd Younkin stated when General Business was first requested the Pickaway County Planning Commission recommended changing it to Planned Business. The drawing remained the same. The plan showed signs and when questioned about signs he answered there were no changes to the revised plan that was submitted with the General Business application.

Joe stated changes were made to the site plan from the original plan dated 1-21-05 to the revised plan dated 10-12-12. The cloud was drawn around the date and should have also been drawn around the changes to the plan, the signs.

Todd stated he did not cloud the changes.

Larry Valentine stated zoning code asks for a plan not for specific changes to be highlighted.

Robert Gibbs shared Joe came to him and said sigh was not in correct place shortly after his business opened. They moved the signs. There were some water issues. The sign was moved temporarily to repair the water issues.

Attorney Sedlak asked Robert Gibbs if the signs were standard for his business in other locations. He said yes.

Joe said these are points that should be brought in front of the Zoning Commission. The issue should be brought to the Zoning Board.

Attorney Sedlak stated the Notice of Violation indicates a criminal offense. It should be a civil matter. The violation was served when the Younkins indicated they were hiring an attorney. He suggested the violation be dropped and the revised plan be submitted to the Zoning Commission with an application for change in zoning for signage.

Joe stated they will be required to pay the $250 application fee. They need to move the sign from the residential property and the new sign attached to the building. He stated he likes the new sign on the building.

Larry Valentine suggested the Board of Appeals should go to the prosecutor and ask their opinion.

Attorney Sedlak asked Barb Younkin if the zoning violation is withdrawn is she willing to go back to the Zoning Commission and apply for a change to zoning.

Joe stated the signs are in violation and will need to come down until the presentation is made to the Zoning Board.

Todd Younkin stated this process has already taken a year to get to this point.

Attorney Sedlak stated taking down the signs is harsh for the business owner, Robert Gibbs, who is an innocent bystander.

Larry Smith asked how many signs are on 23. He stated on the opposite corner ODOT made man take down signage.

Todd stated a billboard is now there.

Leah asked Joe how long it would take for the new application to go through the Zoning Commission and the Township Trustees.

Joe stated 30 days for the Zoning Board and 30 days for the Trustees. Joe also stated the violation is part of the record. He asked if the Board of Appeals wanted to uphold or deny the violation.

Todd stated they had already gone to the trustees. There they were told they needed to come to the Board of Appeals because of the violation.

Leah asked the Board members if there were any questions.

Frank Miles said we have a mess and referred back to the original plan section “E”. HE asked bout the new sign on the new plan that is attached to the building.

Todd showed where the signage is on the new plan. The signs in question are the one attached to the building and the one temporarily on the residential property.

Joe suggested the one temporarily on the residential property be taken down and the one on the building stay up while Barbara reapply for a zoning variance for signs.

Todd asked for clarification.

Joe restated the compromise would be the sign on the residential property would be removed and the new sign on the building could remain. The violation would be retracted and Barbara Younkin would apply to the Zoning Commission for a variance to the zoning for the signs on the property.

All parties agreed.

No vote was needed because all parties were in agreement.

Leah asked for a motion to adjourn. Kenny Cookson made a motion to adjourn. Larry Smith seconded it. The meeting was adjourned.