City Planning & Board of Zoning Appeals, April 2018

April 29th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Zoning Appeals & City Planning Commission
April 10, 2018

Members present: Citizen members John Boyle; Kevin Dreyfuss-Wells; Rob Zimmerman, City Council; David Weiss, mayor and chair
Others Present: Joyce Braverman, Director of Planning; Dan Feinstein, Senior Planner; William Gruber, Director of Law

Mayor Weiss called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. The agenda for this meeting and supporting documents may be found here.

The minutes of the March 6, 2018, meeting were approved with minor typo corrections.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS

 Louck Residence, 2979 Broxton Road

The homeowner requests a variance for fences at this Broxton and South Woodland corner lot. An ornamental fence is proposed to extend to 40 feet off the South Woodland Road sidewalk and screened with new bushes. Code requires corner side-yard fences not extend in front of the setback of the home on the adjacent lot, which in this case is 75 feet. A 6-foot-tall wood board-on-board fence is also proposed on the rear property line, screened by existing landscaping, though code allows only a 3-foot-tall fence. Staff recommends approval of the ornamental fence, and approval of the board-on-board fence as long as it doesn’t extend beyond the South Woodland Road side of the neighbor’s house. After discussion, the topic was opened to public comment; there were none.

Mr. Boyle moved to approve the ornamental fence as proposed and approve the board-on-board fence with these modifications: 4 feet tall from the 75-foot setback to the 65-foot mark, then 6 feet tall to the property line. Approval was unanimous.

McGlinchey Stafford

McGlinchey Stafford (a law firm) requested a variance for an increased letter size on a primary sign for their business to be located on the Warrensville Center Road façade of the C-1 building in the Van Aken District. Staff recommends approval because a code-standard sign would be extremely difficult to read on the third floor of the building.

Mr. Zimmerman expressed concern that only a month after the signage standards were approved, the board is being asked for a variance. Mr. Feinstein explained that there are only two other spaces in Van Aken where this question would arise, so no precedent is being set. After discussion, the topic was opened to public comment; there were none. Mr. Zimmerman moved to approve the variance. Approval was unanimous.

 CITY PLANNING COMMISSION

Wendy’s Restaurant – 3516 Warrensville Center Road

Linear Architects, representing MUY! Hamburgers, requested a Conditional Use Permit, site plan review, variances, and re-subdivision of land for construction of a new Wendy’s at the corner of Warrensville and Chagrin. A Conditional Use Permit is required for the drive-through, which includes two stacking lanes and access to Warrensville. Site plan review is required to demolish the existing building and construct a new one. Variances were requested to the rear buffer, shade trees, front-yard maximum building setback, and the number-of-signs requirements. Commercial Mixed Use district design standard variances were requested and include variances to parking lot frontage, percentage of clear first floor windows, arrangement of public space, and street context and franchise architecture. Re-subdivision of land is required to combine several parcels into one, including combining the vacated right-of-way at the corner of Chagrin Boulevard and Warrensville Center Road. A working group developed the proposal and staff recommends approval.

A representative from Linear Architects walked through the highlights of the plan, then Jim Moll, a representative of MUY! Hamburgers (the Wendy’s franchisee) answered questions. Mr. Boyle and Mr. Weiss had questions about the colors of the Wendy’s red “blade” sign that would dominate the front of the building. Mr. Moll said that they’re open to changing it to an architectural feature, such as stone, rather than the red brand color. He also noted that all newer Wendy’s use the blade at that standard height, and that this location would not have a monument sign.

Ms. Braverman noted that the board can’t approve the signage package because only the number of signs had been submitted, not the actual designs, which need revision. She also noted that re-subdivision of the land, approved at the March meeting, is still awaiting signature by the owner before it goes to County Council for their approval.

Mr. Boyle said that the site plan looked good, assuming the landowner signed the re-subdivision agreement.

The meeting was opened for public comment. Dan Carducci spoke, representing Shaker FV Holdings, which owns the property south of the Wendy’s location and is also the landlord to Wendy’s, the lessee of the underlying property on which the current Wendy’s stands and former operator of the Wendy’s. Shaker FV sold the business to the Wendy’s Company, which franchised it to MUY! Hamburgers. He explained that Shaker FV had only recently received the new plans, which require their approval and MUY! had proceeded without consultation, collaboration or approval. Shaker FV’s concerns:

  1. The site plan shows a grassy triangle for “proposed future,” which is separate Shaker FV land. When that and the adjacent Shaker FV property are developed, they would expect that requests for cross-access and utility sharing would be recognized. Mr. Carducci requested the information be added to the site plan.
  2. Carducci suggested that a grassy area on the current Wendy’s site might be used for parking in the future, if their adjacent property were developed, and requested it be noted on the site plan.
  3. Access to the alley to Lomond Road, behind the location, is being removed. Mr. Carducci asked if a study was done. He also noted that Shaker FV, the underlying landowner, was not consulted and may have a problem with the decision.

Mr. Weiss asked the staff about Shaker FV’s concerns. They responded that it’s inappropriate to add possible future use notations to a site plan. Any future development would need to be reviewed when presented. Mr. Carducci then stated that the existing lease with Wendy’s on the land mentions cross-parking and access, though the full lease is not on file with the city; only a memorandum of understanding is legally filed.

Mr. Weiss asked staff about shared utilities. Ms. Braverman responded that it would be a private agreement between the companies and doesn’t involve the city. Only sharing the sewer lines would involve the city, and that would be to assess if it’s suitable to handle both businesses.

Mr. Weiss asked about closing the alleyway. Ms. Braverman responded that it’s only one-way access at the Wendy’s property line, but is often used as a two-way street, making it hazardous. Furthermore, the redesign of the Warrensville-Chagrin intersection makes traffic at the light less congested, making the alley cut-through unnecessary. The alleyway is city right-of-way beyond the Wendy’s property line.

Mr. Drefuss-Wells asked staff about earlier plans Shaker FV had presented for the property. Ms. Braverman replied that the owner had presented plans and the city was satisfied, but the owners then decided they didn’t want to add additional building to the property. Mr. Carducci noted that if they had tenants for the property, they would develop it. They’ve had interest from other quick-service restaurants and coffee companies, but those companies are concerned about cross-access and visibility. Shaker FV is in favor of development, and that’s why they’re bringing their concerns to the city.

Mr. Moll shared that, according to Wendy’s corporate legal department, their lease does not require them to give cross-access to another business, though they often do. He also noted that MUY! management thinks the alleyway is a hazard and wants it closed. He added that if and when Shaker FV has a development plan for the vacant parcel, they are open to discussing possibilities but are not willing to put an agreement in place in advance.

Mr. Weiss recommended that there be a continuance until there is a final agreement between Wendy’s, Shaker FV and MUY! Mr. Gruber noted that this should include Shaker FV’s agreement to the re-parcel of the land and the right-of-way vacated by the city.

 O’Brien Residence – 18205 Shelburne Road

Residents building a new single-family house request a variance for a two-car parking pad in addition to a 3-car attached garage. Code allows only a one-car pad with screening. Also, the applicant is removing 26 trees and planting only 17 new trees. Code requires replacing all 26 trees. Staff recommends approval on both variances. The driveway includes a curve and landscaping that will shield the parking pad. Another 34 trees are being retained in the rear yard, and there is no room to replant all the removed trees. In addition, staff recommends requiring tree protection fencing be installed prior to the start of construction.

After presentation of the resident plan and discussion, the floor was opened for public comment.  There was none. Mr. Zimmerman moved to approve the variance per staff recommendation. Approval was unanimous.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority – Farnsleigh Blue Line Rapid Transit Station

Brian Temming from the RTA presented plans for re-construction of the Farnsleigh Road RTA station, including adding a handicap-accessible ramp and modifying the platform design, shelters, signage and landscaping to meet ADA accessibility standards, as well as a shelter over the handicap accessibility ramp that matches the other proposed shelter. The adjacent parking area would be resurfaced in concrete. Staff recommends approval of the plan with the requirement that the southern ground sign be improved with landscape similar to the existing landscape around the north sign location.

Mr. Temming responded to several questions about the nature of the landscaping, confirmed that there would be no change to the parking spaces in the resurfaced lot, that the only lighting would be inside the shelter, and that signage would be only directional, not promotional. The discussion was opened for public comment. There was none. Mr. Boyle moved for approval of the plan with the addition of improved landscaping. Approval was unanimous. The proposal will go to Council for approval.

City of Shaker Heights – Van Aken District Public Art Action Strategy

The Van Aken District Public Art Action Strategy was presented for review. Based on an extensive public process, the input was organized into a set of guiding principles to guide public art installations throughout the district. The plan was approved and will go to Council for adoption.

The next meeting will be May 7 in the STJ Community Building.
Lynn Lilly

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