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Board of Zoning Appeals – 8/19/2020 Special Meeting Minutes

CITY OF FRANKFORT
Board of Zoning Appeals
August 19, 2020

The Frankfort City Board of Zoning Appeals met at a Regular Meeting on August 19, 2020, in the Council Chambers, 301 E Clinton Street, Frankfort, Indiana at 5:30 p.m. The meeting was also presented via GoToMeeting.

President Kevin Myers was present and called the meeting to order. Upon roll call, the following members were present: Richard Greeno and David Hussey. Not present Don Gilmore and Isac Chavez. Also present: staff members Ashlee Bassett, Secretary of the Board of Zoning Appeals, Don Stock, Zoning Administrator, and Annie Bacon, Community Development Director.

MINUTES: Minutes of the August 12, 2020 meeting were presented. Richard Greeno made a motion to approve minutes as presented. David Hussey seconded the motion. Upon roll call, three “ayes” were recorded (Kevin Myers, Richard Greeno, and David Hussey). Motion carried, minutes approved.

Docket # 2020-08 Good Oil Company: President Myers opened the public hearing for Good Oil Company. President Myers explains that the need for the Variance of Developmental Standards at 201 S Columbia St, Frankfort, arises because the existing Freestanding Sign does not meet the required fifteen-foot setback from the road right-of-way. President Myers called on Don Stock to present the staff report. Don Stock presented the staff report in its entirety. Property is zoned General Business. Sign was erroneously permitted in the past. Good to Go sign face will become Amoco, but no major changes to sign. The sign has existed since 2006. If the zoning ordinance is strictly applied, the sign would need to come down and inflict undue hardship on the business. President Myers asked for any input from the audience. Laurie Henry, representative from Good Oil states that they’re happy to be a part of our community and have maintained the property to a high standard and will continue to do so. President Myers noted that an email was received from Scott Scales Insurance Agency (located across the street from the property). Email states he’s in favor of the approval of Docket #2020-08. President Myers called for discussion from the board. Richard Greeno states that if it’s approved, sign needs to be readdressed with change of ownership. Don Stock mentioned that he spoke with INDOT and they gave approval for the sign to stay as is. He also noted that if the board thinks that the ordinance is too strict on signage requirements, they should look into ordinance change. Public hearing closed by President Myers. Giving of notice was published in Frankfort Times August 8, 2020, and mailed to property owners within 100 feet August 6, 2020. No conflict of interest present. Quorum was met. President Myers called for motion to approve/ deny. Motion made by Richard Greeno to approve Variance, readdress sign with any change of ownership, and include the findings of fact outlined in staff report. David Hussey seconded motion. No discussion heard. Upon roll call, three “ayes” recorded. Motion passed. Variance approved.

Docket #2020-09 Good Oil Company: President Myers opened public hearing for Good Oil Company. President Myers explains that the need for the Variance of Developmental Standards at 1401 S Jackson St, Frankfort, arises because the existing sign exceeds the 100 sq ft per face maximum and the 20 sq ft per digital message board maximum. President Myers called on Don Stock to present the staff report. Don Stock presented the staff report in its entirety. Property is zoned Local Business. Sign was erroneously permitted in the past. Asking for Variance to Chapter 155.134 (D)(2) and (D)(5).  Good to Go sign face will become Amoco, but no major changes to sign. Sign has existed since 2006. Don Stock added that the sign’s square footage and message board is both too big. He noted that since this has been permitted in the past, it’s a difficult place for the board to be in. If zoning ordinance is strictly applied, sign would need to come down and inflict undue hardship on the business. Don recommends approval of Variance with the following conditions: (1) variance valid for Good Oil Company only and needs to be readdressed with each ownership change, (2) ordinance 155.137 Landscaping Around Freestanding Signs was quoted, he stated that they do have bushes on each end of the sign but he suggests more planting added to existing landscaping. Don states that since this is on a major entrance into the City, he would recommend perennials be planted around the sign. President Myers asked for any members of audience to speak on this. Shan Sheridan of 62 N Main St approached the board. He agrees with Don’s recommendation of an ordinance change for square footage requirement on signage since times have changed and technology has gotten greater. He says he believes Good Oil has been a great asset to our community and recommends approval of Variance with or without the plantings. President Myers called for any further discussion from the board. Richard Greeno states he agrees that the planting is a fantastic idea but wants to make sure that nothing will be planted that would cause a visual clearance issue. He also stated that the sign is 25.56 square footage over allowance. Public Hearing closed by President Myers. Giving of notice published in Frankfort Times August 8, 2020 and mailed to property owners within 100 feet August 6, 2020. No conflict of interest present. Quorum was met. President Myers called for motion to approve/ deny. Motion made by David Hussey to approve Variance with findings of fact outlined in the staff report and recommend plantings to be installed as not to cause visual clearance issues. President Myers states he thinks the board should state a specific time period for it to be done. Richard Greeno states that there is plenty of different landscaping styles they can do. Motion seconded by Richard Greeno. Upon roll call vote, three “ayes” recorded. Motion passed. Variance approved.

Docket #2020-10 Terris Ayers: President Myers opened the public hearing for Terris Ayers of 1401 Walnut Avenue. The petitioner is requesting approval to allow an on-premise sign to exceed city standards of maximum height of 35 feet to be 36.5 feet and also for a digital message board to exceed city standard of maximum 20 sq. ft. to be 32 sq. ft. Myers called on Don Stock to present his staff report. Don read his staff report for the record, along with a recommendation to deny. Myers thanked Don and called on the petitioner to speak. Terris Ayers stated that he appreciates what Don had to say and explained to the board that he is a sign manufacturer and he does want to make the entryway into Frankfort look nice and have a sign that compliments the gateway, something he can be proud of. Mr. Ayers added that by working in a lot of different community’s what he is finding is that cities and towns are changing their ordinances to allow larger-scale, digital message boards. He explained that they did the drawings using a 20 sq.ft. message board and found when a sign is 35’ in height and you try to install a 20 sq ft message board it looks out of proportion than with a larger sign. Ayers added they had also took the logos off of the panel giving it a cleaner look. Mr. Ayers thanked the board for its consideration and took any questions.  David Hussy questioned if this was for a new sign and how tall his current sign is. Ayers stated this hearing is for the new sign and added that the existing sign is around 32’ in height. Ayers said another reason for the added height is the sign will be partly over the parking lot and the requested height would allow clearance for delivery trucks. Greeno question the setback and Don Stock added that the new sign does meet the setback and that INDOT had approved the location prior to this hearing. Myers called on anyone else. Shan Sheridan spoke in favor to approve. With no other comments, Myers closed the public hearing. Giving of notice published in Frankfort Times August 8, 2020, and mailed to property owners within 100 feet August 6, 2020. No conflict of interest present. Quorum was met. President Myers called for motion to approve or deny. David Hussey made a motion to approve and called for a motion. David Hussey made a motion to approve the variance with the addition of landscaping and plantings, disregarding the findings in staff report, and offered new findings as follows: The approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community. It is the belief of the board that because there are other signage in the area that is similar or over the size of the existing variance request. The use and value of area adjacent to the property included in the Variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner due to the nature of the properties next to this location most of them being commercial businesses, having a nice sign at this location would not adversely affect those surrounding properties. And the strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property again from the nature of the sign and the areas of surrounding business, the size and height requested is needed to convey the message. Richard Greeno seconded the motion. Upon roll call vote, three “ayes” recorded. Motion passed. Variance approved.

Other Business: Board discussed the need for a change in the sign ordinance, specifically the maximum size of digital message boards. Greeno made a motion to request Don Stock’s office to amend the sign ordinance and bring back to them prior to sending it to the City Plan Commission. David Hussey seconded the motion. Upon roll call vote, three “ayes” recorded. Motion passed.

With no further business before the board meeting adjourned.

Susan Palmer, Secretary of Board of Zoning Appeals

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