BZA April 26 2011 Zeppes

The Newbury Township Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing was called to order by Mr. Ray Fidel, Chairman, at 7:30 p.m. on April 26, 2011 with Board members, Mary Lee Brezina, Bill Skomrock,Sr., Tezeon Wong and Ken Blair (sitting for Glen Quigley) present.

All in attendance for this hearing were duly sworn and asked when testifying to state their name and confirm being sworn in. Ray Fidel read the applicants request:
Joseph T. Ciresi, President of Zeppes Restaurant, requests: 1) a Conditional Use permit with a site plan for a restaurant located in 4 units of Bldg. two plus outdoor patio of Newbury Center Plaza located at 11110 Kinsman Rd. in the B-1 commercial district and 3 Sign Area Variances for: 2) a 4 line 92.25 sq. ft. store front sign (south roof peak wall), 3) a second 4 line 92.25 sq. ft. store front sign (west roof peak wall): 1st line is 4 ft. high & 3 lines are 1-1/2 ft. high, (vs. Art. XII, Sec. 12.07A4 & 1 sign - 1 line, 2 ft./30” max. allowed per AV01-100105) & 4) a second 100 sq. ft. directory sign 12 ft. high, approx. 500 ft. from Kinsman-Auburn Rds & 5 ft. from Kinsman Rd, Right-of-Way (vs. Art. XII, Sec. 12.07C & 12.10B, 1 sign - max. 10ft. high allowed).
Mr. Fidel asked the applicant to state his case. Mr. Ciresi stated he would open a Zeppe’s pizzeria as an Italian style restaurant and tavern featuring the standard take-out menu plus an extended menu for in-house dining featuring daily specials such as meat loaf, pot roast, etc. He estimated the restaurant /tavern would seat about 160 people with handsome, inviting wood accents to attract family oriented diners who enjoy a drink or glass of wine with their meal. He said Zeppe’s would not be a “beer joint” or a teen hang-out but would be a family friendly establishment, he said he had 5 kids, for comfortable relaxing before the fireplace. He hopes to make this restaurant/tavern a staple in Geauga County.
Mr. Fidel asked about the build-out for the patio. Mr. Panzica said the existing building opening would support glass sliding doors to separate the patio from the restaurant – keep winter heat in and summer heat out.
Mr. Ciresi said the patio would be roofed, enclosed, forced-air heated for winter use and opened to enjoy summer evenings. He described the Zeppe’s Bistro in Hudson which is “much fancier”. The Newbury Restauranct and Tavern would be the first of its kind that he hopes to duplicate the footprint and style. It would not be a sport’s bar but focus on the good menu; anticipated revenues would be about 70% food to 30% bar. There would be pick-up and delivery service for standard menu items only at the corner of the building. He said he owns 12 Zeppe’s units with 20 more under franchise.
Mr. Wong asked Mr. Ciresi to verify the seating capacity as shown on the site plan; 94 to 96 counted inside plus 40 in the patio – Mr. Ciresi corrected the total number to approximately130. Parking was discussed and confirmed there were adequate spaces available. Mr. Hess said the front area would support re-organized paved/striped parking plus a re-located two-lane driveway east and around the patio to the rear of the building.
Mr. Fidel asked the board for comments. Mr. Skomrock, Sr. said the plan “looks good”, Ms. Brezina agreed adding all seems in order, with Mr. Blair and Mr. Fidel concurring. Mr. Fidel asked if there were any objections from the audience – none.
There being no more questions, Mr. Fidel called for a motion stating that a yes vote would grant the conditional use.
Tezeon Wong moved to grant the conditional use as requested; Bill Skomrock Sr. seconded the motion. A roll-call vote was as follows:

Tezeon Wong yes
Mary Lee Brezina yes
Ken Blair yes
Bill Skomrock, Sr. yes
Ray Fidel yes

Ms. Endres read the code requirements for a permitted restaurant including parking and signs concluding she had determined Zeppe’s classification was for a restaurant as food service generated the revenue and the floor space majority 70%/30% est. for Newbury. Mr. Ciresi estimated the Hudson Bistro split was closer to 85%/15%.
.
Mr. Fidel then informed the applicant of the standard rules for a CU permit as listed in Art X & XII:
1) The permit would be for a five year terms with reapplication thereafter,
2) The permit would be reviewed yearly by the BZA,
3) The permit could be cancelled anytime for condition violations.
Mr. Fidel informed the applicant his conditional use permit was granted.

Mr. Fidel read to the Appellant and audience, “Based on the decision of the Board, you may proceed with obtaining your permit, once all requirements regarding this application are satisfied. You are advised if someone objects to this decision they may challenge it in court. If you choose to start the operations at once, as soon as you begin you are bound by the conditions set forth by this Board, and all other Newbury Township zoning requirements.
Mr. Fidel informed the Appellant and the audience that the 30-day period commences with the Appellant’s signing receipt of the signed minutes. They will be mailed registered return receipt to the Appellant. All persons receiving notice of the hearing will receive copies of the minutes.
Mr. Ciresi said he needed to submit plans to the Geauga County Building Dept. – Ms. Endres said she would stamp the required 4 sets of plans when the minutes were signed.
Mr. Fidel then asked the board to consider the requested area variances for duplicate signs. He explained that the board had previously granted a sign variance for Subway with 2 ft. high letters and a max. trademark height of 30”. Mr. Ciresi said the signs were similar to other Zeppe’s signs at different locations but lettering height varied depending on the city ordinances (3 ft. high in Chardon) and traffic speed, visibility and setbacks. Discussion continued regarding color, day/night visibility and color/area backgrounds.
Mr. Dale Heigley outlined the letter size and sq. ft. of the two identical signs he was supplying to the 92.25 sq.ft. allowed in the NZ code (using 4 store fronts). He compared the single line Subway sign size/location to the larger area available (under the west and south peaks) for a 4 line sign with a beige background for improved visibility. Discussion continued regarding lighted channel letters, day/night light intensity, timers operations – on during business hours only, alternate methods to compute sign size etc. Mr. Heigley said the larger 105 sq. ft. sign was still below the allowable 150 square footage. Ms. Endres said she used the store frontage height and lineal feet computation.
Mr. Fidel asked for board comments. Ms. Brezina liked the “nice-looking” sign on the building that was not obstructive and quite unobtrusive. Mr. Kitko advised the board that the Newbury Zoning Commission had already voted to permit two signs on corner buildings facing two roadways.
The NEWBURY CENTER sign will be 2 ft. high and is not part of this hearing. Mr. Panzica will submit designs for a lighted script sign at a future time.
Ms. Endres said the previous variance allowed other building tenants to petition if the 24/30 inch height limit needed revision. Mr. Skomrock Sr. asked if all other Zeppe’s signs were 4 ft. high. Mr. Ciresi said the Streetboro sign was 5 ft. high but he now thinks that is too high for the location. Mr. Heigley said the 4 ft. is a common size. Mr. Skomrock Sr. worried about setting a precedence. Mr. Ciresi responded there were no other competing signs, the signs were not gaudy not a distraction. Mr. Panzica said that SUBWAY uses the maximum permitted over a store front but the peaks present a more creative opportunity; Zeppe’s is using 120 ft. of store front signage.
There being no more questions, Mr. Fidel called for a motion stating that a yes vote would grant the 2 sign variances.
Bill Skomrock Sr. moved to accept variances # 2 south & 3 west peak signage as requested with 2 conditions: 1) no additional south & west wall signs were permitted,
2) both signs would be lighted only during operating hours.
Ken Blair seconded the motion.

A roll-call vote was as follows:
Tezeon Wong yes
Mary Lee Brezina yes
Ken Blair yes
Bill Skomrock, Sr. yes
Ray Fidel yes

Mr. Fidel asked the board to consider #4 variance for a second directory sign. Mr. Panzica then asked to withdraw this variance for consideration at a later time; Mr. Ciresi agreed and the board voted unanimously to accept the applicant’s withdrawal request for the #4 second directory sign.

Discussion continued regarding the existing corner electronic sign that served as a community bulletin board. Mr. Panzica said he may revise the text letter size for better readability; the board agreed this would be an improvement.

Mr. Fidel read to the Appellant and audience, “Within 30 days after service of the minutes granting your request, if someone wishes to challenge this decision through the court, he or she may. The challenge could reverse or negate our decision. Mr. Fidel informed the Appellant and the audience that the 30-day period commences with the Appellants’ signing receipt of the signed minutes. They will be mailed registered return receipt to the Appellant. All persons receiving notice of the hearing will receive copies of the minutes. At the time you receive your permit you must also comply with all other requirements of Newbury Township zoning”.
Mr. Fidel adjourned the BZA hearing at 8:25 p.m.

As the applicants left, Board members wished them good luck.

Board members resumed their meeting to establish the conclusions of fact:
Based on the following FINDING OF FACTS for the variance requested:

1) The parcel could yield a reasonable return without the variance however the Newbury Zoning Commission has voted to approve two wall signs on corner facing buildings.
2) The sign size variance is not substantial but reasonable considering the larger peak locations.
3) The essential character of the neighborhood would not be substantially altered and the adjoining property owners would suffer no detriment as a result of this variance.
4) The variance has no effect on delivery of governmental services.
5) The property owner was unaware of the zoning restrictions at the time of leasing.
6) The lessee’s predicament could not be obviated through some method other than the variance as the signs are needed to build sales.
7) The spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variance. Such other criteria, which the Board believes relates to determining whether the zoning regulation is equitable; the larger signs are appropriate for the building size/location as replacement for four other signs allowed for this 4 unit business and there were no adjacent property owners in attendance to object.

Mr. Fidel adjourned the meeting at 8:40 p.m.

Marge Hrabak, Secretary