|Creative Extruded Requests Special Use Permit|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Wednesday, 16 January 2013 00:00|
A special use permit requested by Creative Extruded Products to proceed with its plans for the former Tipp City Herald newspaper building was approved, 3-1, by the city Planning Board on Jan. 8.
The board also made recommendations to City Council on proposed sign code changes regarding large-scale commercial or industrial buildings and proposed off-street parking requirements for EMS and volunteer fire department stations.
Tim Mach, president of Creative Extruded Products of Commerce Park Drive, said the company plans to use around 32,000 square feet of the 1455 W. Main St. building for warehousing of finished and slow-moving products. Plans also include leasing the remaining 7,500 square foot office area at the front of the building.
Moving products from the company’s existing site would allow the company to expand operations at that Commerce Park Drive location, Mach said.
The Tipp City Herald building was sold last month at auction with the sale closed earlier in the day Jan. 8, Mach said.
City Planner Matt Spring said a special use permit was needed because warehouse/shipping is not among functions listed under permitted or special uses in the city general business zoning district. The board by city code can determine a use is of the same general character as those specifically listed, Spring explained.
Board chairman Stacy Wall asked about the amount of truck traffic planned because the building shares a drive with a daycare operation next door. Mach said trucks from the Commerce Park Drive operation would be coming around 10 times a week at various times. The vehicles would be box trucks versus semis.
Board member Paul Lee asked why the business bought the building that was not zoned for its intended use. The proper zoning for that purpose, he said, would be light industrial.
“We did not look at it as a significantly different operation, doing our distribution,” Mach said.
Board member Scott Brownlee said he saw the company’s plan as “a good use for the building.”
He, Wall and Brent Rawlins voted for the special use. Lee cast the “no” vote.
In other business, the board recommended to city council, 4-0, a modification to the sign code provisions regarding large-scale commercial and industrial buildings.
The current code allows for an 80 square foot maximum single sign regardless of building size (shopping centers fall under a different section) and one sign per street frontage. The proposed change would allow for up to 5 percent of the façade to be used for signs and an unlimited number of signs per façade.
Brad Vath, assistant city manager, said the unlimited number of signs allowed as long as within the 5 percent total sign area cap gives companies the leeway in use of the 5 percent of space. Three structures in town fall under these proposed sign regulations – Meijer, Menards and the new Abbott liquid nutrition products facility under construction.
Other sign requests for larger buildings were dealt with in the past with variances. However, the variance route was eliminated when the new zoning code was implemented a couple of years ago.
Lee asked why the change could not wait until the full code review now under way is done and voted on.
Vath said the proposed language before planning board also is before the code revision steering committee. There was, he said, “discussion about trying to be as expeditious as possible to consider Abbott’s needs realizing the same language is going through the review committee.”
Lee said he thinks it has been “problematic” for years for businesses to get signs that meet corporate needs. He said he wishes the city had addressed the issue “a long time ago.”
An Abbott representative at the meeting said that from a “sense of urgency” standpoint, the new building is about done with plans for an occupancy permit application by the end of February. Every Abbott building has the same look with signs for consistency, he said.
Wall said each board member received a site brand book from Abbott.
The board also voted 4-0 to recommend council approve specific requirements for off-street parking for EMS and volunteer fire stations. The code now does not have requirements.
The proposal calls for one space per employee on the largest EMS work shift plus one per employee for the average emergency response for volunteer personnel.
Plans for the expansion of the West Main Street station will be before the board in the near future, the board was told.