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BZA MEETING

March 21, 2019

The White County Area Board of Zoning Appeals met Thursday, March 21st, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Second Floor, White County Government Center, Monticello, Indiana.

Present: Dennis Sterrett, Randy Conwell, Stan Minnick, and Abbey Gross

Absent: Chris McWhirter

Also attending were Executive Director Joseph W. Rogers, Annette Cobb and Area Plan Attorney Abigail Diener

Visitors attending were: Joe Zinemeister, Rob Edinger, Phil Krause, Yirni Rincer, Juan Rincer, James Krintz, and Chris Lehe

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Dennis Sterrett at 6:00 p.m.

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Minutes and Findings of Fact:

There was a motion by Stan Minnick and a second by Randy Conwell to approve the meeting minutes and findings of fact dated November 15, 2018 as written. Motion was carried unanimously.

There was a motion by Randy Conwell and a second by Stan Minnick to approve the meeting minutes and findings of fact dated January 17, 2019 as written. Motion was carried unanimously.

Note: At the introduction of each case hearing, Director Rogers introduced the Staff Report and affiliated documents into the official record of the meeting, to be used as supporting documents for the developing of the Findings of Fact for each hearing.

Variance #2991

Executive Director Rogers stated that there were photos taken of the site and were included with the staff report and official record, but, due to technical difficulties, the photos were not be available for audience viewing. Director Rogers explained that the request is for a variance to the sign regulations of the White County Zoning Ordinance to allow for the placement of an LED illuminated ground sign with a total height of 11’6” vs the 6’ maximum allowed by Ordinance. In the opinion of the Staff, the current request is subject to extenuating circumstances. First, the current ordinance encourages property owners to reduce any existing site non conformances. In this case, their previous sign was not considered non-conforming due to the property owners receiving a variance for that sign. However, the Staff does consider their current move closer to the standard sign regulations than the sign being replaced. This request, in the opinion of the staff, is closer to normal standards than was the previous sign and should be encouraged. Second, when developed, the current sign ordinance did not consider location factors. The Ordinance was written with the same standards whether you were along a city street or a road with relatively high speed limits. The Staff believes this should be considered by the board for the current request. The applicant requested that the surveyor delineate the vision clearance standard area on the survey. As shown on the survey, this proposed sign location is outside the visual clearance zone as required by the White County Zoning Ordinance. The sign is proposed to be 12’ from the State Road 43 right of way line and 27’ from the edge of the road. Director Rogers read into the record two community communications received; one from from Jane Krause and one from John Heimlich requesting additional information. The Staff shared the board packet and additional information with Mr. Heimlich and Ms. Krause and did not receive any feedback prior to the meeting tonight. Director Rogers answered questions from the Board regarding sign location, vision triangle clearance regulations, and sign illumination.

James Krintz, applicant, stepped to the podium to represent his request. Mr. Krintz stated that he lives on the property where the proposed sign will be located. Dennis Sterrett, Board President, asked where the new sign will be placed compared to the previous sign. Mr. Krintz stated that it will be in the same location as the previous sign that was destroyed by wind. Chairman Sterrett asked about the driveway to the north of the sign location. James Krintz stated that the driveway is not used by patrons and vary rarely by him. He maintains the drive and will occasionally park a truck he has for sale there. He has driven a steel pole through the center to discourage use of that drive. Chairman Sterrett asked Director Rogers if INDOT would have any regulations regarding this sign. Director Rogers stated that he was not sure if anything had changed with INDOT regulations during his absence as Area Plan Director and he requested the applicant contact INDOT directly. Director Rogers and Mrs. Krintz received information through email and a phone call that INDOT does not regulate on- premise signs. When there were no more questions from the Board, Chairman Sterrett asked if anyone in the audience desired to speak either for or against the request.

Phillip Krause stepped to the podium to represent his mother who owns property around the site. Mr. Krause entered a letter into the record and gave a copy to each member and one for the file. Mr. Krause stated, “I have two concerns regarding this variance request, one is a concern about pattern, and second is a concern about safety.” He read the letter aloud and paraphrased information from the minutes dated October 20, 2011 of variance hearing #2862 to display to the board that this is an ongoing concern. “Director was Mr. Rogers. Mr. Lehe was here and he voiced a concern that there would be visibility problems especially if a new sign was added in between the poles. Signage added in between the poles would obstruct vision and Mr. Rogers described the required vision clearance triangle and stated that even if outside this area if a new sign was placed Director Rogers would require it be removed for safety purposes. Michelle Krintz spoke and said that the new sign is higher and allows for better visibility. My mother spoke (Evaro Krause) and said she fears that new signage will be placed between the poles of the new sign blocking visibility. Mrs. Krintz spoke again and said that they would not be placing any signs between the posts of the current sign.”

Mr. Krause stated that he believes this is what they are requesting now; to build a sign in between where those posts used to be. His belief is that if there were concerns about visibility then, there should be a continued concern about visibility now.”

Mr. Juan Rincer, of Phantom Neon Signs, explained that the requirements of the zoning ordinance were considered when creating the sign. Mr. Rincer stated that the face of the sign is small compared to other signs in the area; referring to billboards that are in close proximity to the proposed sign location. He explained that the sign is constructed in two parts. The top part is 2’ X 8’ which displays the name of the business. The electronic part of the sign is 5’ X 8’. He explained that actual sign is only 1’ taller than ordinance allows, but due to the area the sign needs to be protected from water damage and requires a 40” base. The electronics of the sign would be ruined by flooding in the area if it is not elevated. Mr. Rincer stated that he doesn’t believe this sign will create any more of a visibility issue than other signs in the area.

Mr. Krintz stepped back to the podium and stated that if a driver were to come up to the stop sign and make a complete stop as required and not roll through or stop 12’ from the sign to observe oncoming traffic then the sign would not impair the vision of oncoming traffic. Discussion occurred over the types of vehicles that may be affected by the sign. Director Rogers asked, “What prevents you from putting a sign up that is in compliance?” Mr. Krintz explained again the water issues of the area to the Board.

Mr. Krause spoke again and reiterated from his letter that he contacted INDOT after finding information online that requires greater setbacks in a high velocity area. Based on this finding, he has requested an analysis of the area. Mr. Krause stated that there is currently an open ticket and he has not received a response as of today. Mr. Krause would like the Board to consider waiting on the response from INDOT. Director Rogers reminded the Board that INDOT does not regulate on-premise signs, and that he received confirmation from INDOT by phone and email that this sign is not subject to regulation will not be regulated by them. Abbey Gross, Board Member, asked Mr. Krause if he has the INDOT standards. Mr. Krause responded that he does not have them, but he explained the process to the Board as he understood it.

Chris Lehe, who owns farm ground around the subject site, stated that he is only concerned as to how close the sign is to the highway. Chairman Sterrett asked Mr. Lehe how far he believes the sign should be from the edge of the road. Mr. Lehe stated “I have never gone and measured it and tested it out; but I mean especially.. I mean I don’t know it seems like a silly thing; , but the previous sign caused visibility issues, we aren’t the only ones that had visibility issues and I don’t know maybe this sign if its not up as high so it’s up higher I don’t know from the diagram it looks like it will cause more.” He went on to say, “Like I said we could care less if he has a sign just so it is a little bit further away from the highway.”. and it meets the ord. Abbey Gross stated, “I was going to ask a similar question, do you have an idea how many feet from the roadway are we talking you want it 30’ from the roadway or 40’ from the roadway, I mean knowing that the current sign is or going to be 27.5’ I guess it is hard for me to take into consideration when you say well we want it back from the roadway, but I don’t really. You know, how far? And maybe If it was only a couple feet maybe they would be willing to move it a couple feet I don’t know but its’ hard to say.” Mr. Krintz spoke up and said he doesn’t have an issue with that, but how far is it? Abbey Gross said, “I mean that is something we can address here.” Mr. Krintz reiterated that the sign is outside the vision clearance area and this is a height allowance request and does not include the sign location or vision triangle. Chairman Sterrett clarified that the sign is currently 27.5’ from the edge of the pavement which is 12’ outside the right of way and it meets the ordinance vision triangle requirement. Chris Lehe stated, “I am done, that’s the only concern we have so if you guys don’t have any questions for me…” There was no further discussion from the Board, applicant, or audience concerning the request.

Joseph Rogers informed the applicant that when there isn’t a full board the applicant has the option to proceed with the vote tonight or continue to the next meeting in hopes that a full board will be present. In the event of a tie vote, the hearing will automatically continue to the next meeting. Mr. Krintz stated he would like to proceed tonight with the vote.

After tabulating the ballots, Chairman Dennis Sterrett read the following results into the record: Variance #2991 - 4 Votes cast; 4 to grant, 0 to deny; Petition Granted.

Variance #2992

Executive Director Rogers provided the Board with an overview of the variance requests, reviewed the Staff report, and supplemental information. The series of photos he had taken at the site were not available for the audience due to technical difficulties, but were provided in the Staff Report and will be included in the official record.

Director Rogers reviewed the applicant’s specific request which is to vary from the 19’ height limitation to which accessory structures are subject in a B-2, General Business District, seeking an allowance of 23’, a 4’ variance. Director Rogers stated that the applicant, Steinburger Construction, submitted a permit application to construct a 40’ X 60’ storage shed with a total height to peak of 22’ + a few inches. To be safe, the Staff recommended the variance request be submitted for 23’ providing a safety cushion for the as built result. The need for the taller height allowance is to accommodate specific materials and equipment used in the application of their business.

Robert Edinger, Senior Operations Manager of Meadow Lake Wind Farm, stepped to the podium to represent the request. Mr. Edinger spoke about his company and their experience in White County for the last 10 years. He explained that future turbines will be bigger; therefore, new storage building will need to be taller to accommodate the larger/longer turbine components. This additional height requirement is more than what current ordinance allows.

There were no citizens in the Audience to speak in favor or against the request. Abigail Diener, Attorney, passed out the ballots.

After tabulating the ballots, Chairman Dennis Sterrett read the following results into the record: Variance #2992 – 4 Votes cast; 4 to grant, 0 to deny; Petition GRANTED.

New Business -

Executive Director Joseph Rogers announced to the Board that Sarah Baunach has resigned from her position with Area Plan. The Board will need to accept her resignation as the Secretary of the BZA Board. Abbey Gross motioned that Sarah’s resignation is accepted, and seconded by Stan Minnick. Motion carried unanimously.

There being no further business, Board Member Abbey Gross motioned to adjourn the meeting, with a second from Board Member Stan Minnick. Motion carried unanimously, meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

__________________________

Joseph W. Rogers, Executive Director

White County Area Plan Commission

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Prepared by: Annette Cobb

Document Prepared By: White County Area Plan Executive Director Joseph W. Rogers, “I AFFIRM, UNDER THE PENALTIES FOR PERJURY THAT I HAVE TAKEN REASONABLE CARE TO REDACT EACH SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IN THIS DOCUMENT, UNLESS REQUIRED BY LAW.”

__________________________

Joseph W. Rogers, Executive Director

Area Board of Zoning Appeals