The City of Cortland Planning, Zoning & Building Commission met on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 7:00 P. M. at the City Administration Building, 400 N. High Street, Cortland, Ohio. In attendance were the following board members: Vice Chairman, Bill Sasse, Charles Peck, Sally Lane and Jim Chubb; absent was Chairman Scott Daffron. Also present were Mayor Curt Moll, Law Director Patrick Wilson, Service Director Don Wittman, Acting Fire Chief David Rea and the following individuals:
Richard Pregibon 918 State Rt. 305 Cortland
Tom Kozlevcar 143 Park Ave. Cortland
Marilyn Smith 112 Woodland Trace Cortland
Jim Woofter 261 Fox Run Cortland
Bill Sasse: It is 7:00. I’d like to call to order the meeting of the Cortland Planning, Zoning & Building Commission. Can we have roll please?
Roll Call: Bill Sasse, here; Sally Lane, here; Scott Daffron, absent; Charles Peck, here; Jim Chubb, here.
Bill Sasse: Can I have approval of commission minutes for the April 8, 2013 meeting?
James Chubb made a motion to approve April 8, 2013 Meeting minutes, seconded by Sally Lane.
Roll Call: Jim Chubb, yes; Sally Lane, yes; Bill Sasse, yes; Scott Daffron, absent; Charles Peck, abstain. MOTION APPROVED.
Bill Sasse: Being that there is no old business on the agenda, does anybody have any just in case? For new business I need approval for 06-13A New Business - Beef O’ Brady’s, 3660 Niles Cortland Road. Charles Peck made a motion for approval of 06-13A, seconded by James Chubb.
Bill Sasse: Do we have somebody here to speak for the business? Do you want to give us a little a bit about what you plan on doing?
Richard Pregibon: Here is some literature. It is a full service restaurant and bar. This is the actual menu that will be used in it.
Charles Peck: Could you identify yourself please?
Richard Pregibon: My name is Rick Pregibon, by the way. I live in Bazetta. I grew up in Fowler all my life and have stayed in the area. I worked at WCI Steel and whatever it was called after that for 24 years.
Patrick Wilson: You are a franchisee?
Richard Pregibon: Yes. I am a franchisee. They are mainly in the south, this will be store #573, I believe. They have been in business since 1985. Brandon Florida is where they originated, which is a suburb of Tampa. Probably the majority of them are in the Florida area. Big marketing plan expanding in California and several in Ohio, 3 in the Akron area and several in Cincinnati in the last year.
Charles Peck: I see Coke on here. Is there a chance there is going to be Miller Lite on here at some time?
Richard Pregibon: That is also what I’m doing. I am working with our attorney now to get this on the ballot so that we can have full service bar. This is a sketch of what I am planning on doing with the building which everyone is familiar with.
Bill Sasse: I believe we had some in our packets.
Don Wittman: If there is a larger version, we can put it with the originals. Just for the record, at this time we are not approving any of the modifications or changes to the façade. Nor would they need to come before this commission for approval because the footprint of the building is not being altered. Changing the entryway with a canopy is not required.
Bill Sasse: I do have several questions of course.
Richard Pregibon: This is a picture of one of the restaurants.
Charles Peck: It is going to have the “Good Food, Good Spirits” under the name?
Richard Pregibon: Yes.
Jim Chubb: Are you concerned at all about the number of cars and the parking?
Richard Pregibon: No. I think it is going to work fine.
Jim Chubb: There is not a whole lot of parking.
Richard Pregibon: Right now there are 55.
Jim Chubb: 55?
Bill Sasse: I counted 47. There is 8 in this spot not 10. These areas that he counted where probably only 6 foot wide which could get 10 cars in there but wouldn’t be able to open the doors. It is not a big deal but it comes out to a total of 47 spots that are currently there with the 2 handicap and I see you are going to add two handicap. I just wanted to let you know that are not going to be able to get 10 in there and be able to open the doors on the car..
Charlie Peck: How many seats do you plan to have inside the restaurant? I see the square footage but I didn’t see the number of seats.
Richard Pregibon: Typical number of seats is 140-150, but I may have to adjust for the parking.
Bill Sasse: You are going to have to take a serious look at the parking because like I said whoever counted did not count the door opening.
Don Wittman: Typically what I have seen also is if there is limited parking on an existing site, there are times where you have employees work out an arrangement with an adjacent property owner.
Bill Sasse: It is no big deal but I just wanted to bring that up. The major problem I found is on the front, the side facing Route 46 and it hasn’t happened yet, and I am not saying there is anything wrong with people drinking, but their driving is a little different once they have had a couple of drinks. The only thing keeping people from going over that 6 foot hill is a 6 inch barrier so if someone made a mistake that could cause a heck of a problem. I am just trying to bring these up in advance. And the other one is if you are going out the exit on the other road on the side - coming over the hill, you’ve got two seconds before you see a car coming out. In the past there hasn’t been all that much traffic there and it can happen. I’ve eaten at this place before.
Richard Pregibon: I can address that right now. The way I want to have the layout and there will besigns accordingly – of course you can enter both ways. But there will be a sign this direction for parking and exit for here is the main way. The light is not signaled for here but I have sat there a lot of times watching it and it works well.
Bill Sasse: It works okay but I am just thinking about people drinking and that does make a little bit of a difference. I have no problems with it I just want you to be aware and is there something that can be done to keep people from driving over this such as a fence that you could at least see so that they are not going to go forward?
Don Wittman: A fence along 46 – on Niles Cortland Road?
Bill Sasse: Not on the road. At the top where the parking lot is. Oh never mind, Don.
Don Wittman: That would just be a contravention of all of our zoning ordinances in which the fence is located from the front building setback.
Bill Sasse: I am not talking about a fence – I am just talking about something they can see so that they can’t pull forward.
Don Wittman: Like a chain or something?
Bill Sasse: That is all I am not talking about. I am not talking about a fence fence. I am just trying to figure out a way to keep people from going over that thing.
Richard Pregibon: What are the rules for that?
Bill Sasse: There are no rules. I am just bringing it up.
Don Wittman: I think that is where the curbing and the 6 inch wheel stop is adequate.
Bill Sasse: I am just bringing it up alright.
Richard Pregibon: My question is what is the rule with using that piece of grass there with something that you are talking about.
Mayor Moll: I would like to keep the green space.
Don Wittman: It is in the right of way and you wouldn’t be able to put anything in there.
Bill Sasse: I am just bringing it up, okay.
Don Wittman: Well no one really saw a need to protect the veterinary clinic from a car going through the front door or front wall so anything is possible.
Bill Sasse: Anything is possible but this has a little bit more possibility to it. This one is just kind of hanging out there and it has happened before. People have gone over those things – if you see nothing in front of you and think you go forward.
Mayor Moll: Not very often. When do you target to open?
Richard Pregibon: The plan is the week before Thanksgiving.
Mayor Moll: So you are going to wait until the week after the election.
Richard Pregibon: We have talked back and forth between myself and the parent company and I suggested November and they agreed.
Bill Sasse: Anybody else have anything? Thank you. Can we have a vote please on 06-13A?
Roll Call: Sally Lane, yes; Bill Sasse, yes; Jim Chubb, yes; Scott Daffron, absent; Charles Peck, yes. MOTION PASSED.
Bill Sasse: Can we have a motion for approval of 06-13B – New Sign – Beef O Brady’s, 3660 Niles Cortland Road – one wall mounted sign and one ground mounted sign. Charles Peck made a motion for approval of 06-13B, seconded by Sally Lane.
Bill Sasse: Do we have any questions?
Charles Peck: Do you plan on leaving the street address on the existing sign?
Richard Pregibon: Yes but not that address. It will be changed to 3660. When that building was divided, that was for the doctor’s office. It will have the 3660.
Bill Sasse: Anything else? Can I have a vote on 06-13B – new Sign for BeefO Brady’s, 3660 Niles Cortland Road – one wall mounted sign and one ground mounted sign.
Roll Call: Scott Daffron, absent; Charles Peck, yes; Sally Lane, yes; Jim Chubb, yes; Bill Sasse, yes. MOTION PASSED.
Bill Sasse: Does anyone have any business they want to bring before the board? Your name please?
Tom Kozlevcar: My name is Tom Kozlevcar, 143 Park Avenue, Cortland. I have been to Council twice seeking a resolution to what I see as a problem. We disagreed on what a driveway is so they directed me to come here and try some other approach. (unclear) what a driveway is (unclear) – Two houses away from me is a parking spot in front of a house.
Patrick Wilson: Let’s make sure the issue is clear for the board. So he has asked for an ordinance to be enforced a certain way within the City of Cortland based on his interpretation of the ordinance. Don is the enforcement officer in the City of Cortland and interprets it a different way and doesn’t believe it justifies a zoning violation to be made, okay. Don has been clear about that. City Council was not the proper forum to argue over the enforcement of a zoning violation. There is nothing pending with your board right now. I don’t believe Don has changed his opinion as to the enforcement of this issue. What was suggested was that you meet with the Technical Review Committee to talk about amending the ordinance.
Tom Kozlevcar: I was told by the Chairman of that committee that there was no point in meeting with them because they were all here that night and weren’t going to change their mind anyway.
Patrick Wilson: That was one option you were given. The other option you were given if you believe that a true nuisance exists, was that you could pursue a civil remedy through the court. I explained that to you as well. That was your other option. The other option would be to talk to this board about whether it was interested or would be interested in amending the ordinance, considering an amendment, voting on a proposed amendment, recommending it to Council. The board needs to understand where we are at and needs to understand the background of the issue and that is what I am informing the board of now.
Charles Peck: Can you bring the board up to speed on what you perceive to be an issue and then maybe have Don explain why he feels it is not an issue – so that we understand the two sides if we could.
Tom Kozlevcar: There are two things but the main thing right now is the ordinance says about parking in a driveway, parking in a front lawn. The ordinance says you are allowed to park in a front lawn if you are parked in a driveway. And my argument was where those cars are parked was not a driveway. His argument is that it is on a driveway. So I have given up on that, I surrender.
Charles Peck: That is this picture, right here that you are referring to.
Tom Kozlevcar: Yes. I say the white car is parked on a parking space not a driveway. A driveway according to the definition in the ordinances goes from the street to the building in the back. To me, that is a parking space not a driveway. Same thing over here, that is a parking space not a driveway.
Bill Sasse: What is this other picture with the car and the boat?
Tom Kozlevcar: The car and the boat are pulled off in the front of the house.
Charles Peck: Is that lawn underneath that? I can’t see that well enough.
Bill Sasse: That’s lawn.
Tom Kozlevcar: I think there might have been gravel there at one time but the grass has grown up through the gravel and the way the ordinance reads now or the way Don sees it anybody -
Bill Sasse: Don wouldn’t that be considered – let’s go with this one then. Is that stone underneath it – it looks like they added stone – wouldn’t that just be considered a parking lot or part of the driveway?
Don Wittman: Yes.
Bill Sasse: That’s what I thought. I don’t mean to be -
Don Wittman: We are arguing semantics of what a driveway is.
Bill Sasse: Right. All they did was expand their driveway with stone which is legal.
Tom Kozlevcar: I surrender.
Bill Sasse: The other one is a clear violation of what I consider our laws to be on parking cars on a lawn.
Don Wittman: I don’t know what you are referring to as far as a photo. That was never sent to me as a written complaint.
Bill Sasse: Right, so this one wasn’t a complaint yet.
Tom Kozlevcar: I was just driving around and I found it.
Bill Sasse: But as far as this one goes it is an extension of a driveway since the stone is down and this one you would have to file a complaint on.
Tom Kozlevcar: That is another thing that irritates me. I am here. This lady is here. Why do we have to file a complaint when you have policemen driving around, you have councilmen driving around, you have zoning committee people driving around – why can’t somebody else enforce this?
Bill Sasse: I understand that and I don’t want to say that’s just the way it is but that is the way it has been going.
Tom Kozlevcar: Why?
Bill Sasse: We don’t have a full time zoning inspector.
Don Wittman: It has nothing to do with resources within the city. It has to do with a written requirement, that complaints be in writing as stated in the codified ordinance. It was not something that was just decided that it has to be in writing. It provides a probable cause for me to go out and do an investigation so that if it does turn into a court case – the prosecutor has the basis to proceed with it.
Bill Sasse: That’s what I was trying to say – you have to file a complaint to get it done.
Tom Kozlevcar: Okay, but I am not here for that either. That is not why I am here. You keep interrupting me and I can not get to my point.
Jim Chubb: Okay, go ahead.
Tom Kozlevcar: My point is – we were arguing about what a driveway is, right? I say parking space, they say driveway. I say pull off so we arguing about what a pull off is, what a turnaround is and whether it is part of a driveway or not because there is nothing in the ordinances about either pull offs or turnarounds. I propose to change the ordinance so that the ordinance would include the words turnoff and pull around and would eliminate the problem of parking in the front yard. Does anyone else want a copy?
Bill Sasse: All I can say about this is we will take it under consideration.
Don Wittman: This is even the wrong code. This has nothing to do with zoning.
Tom Kozlevcar: It is the definition of a driveway.
Don Wittman: For Section 3 dealing with traffic.
Tom Kozlevcar: What is 1125.09?
Don Wittman: It doesn’t say 1125.09, it says 301.26.
Tom Kozlevcar: Here is 1125.09. 1125.09 says you can park in the driveway so all I am doing is trying to define what a driveway is.
Don Wittman: But you are defining it in the wrong section of the codified ordinances. Section 3 deals with the police enforcing traffic violations.
Tom Kozlevcar: When I went to Council the first time, you referred me to Don. Don referred me to Council. Council referred me to Zoning, now who are you referring me to, the Police?
Don Wittman: I am just saying that 301.26 defining what a driveway is, is not applicable to 1125. The Zoning Code has its own separate section of definitions.
Patrick Wilson: What he is saying is this document that I am holding right now that makes reference to 1125 is what you should have passed out and what you should be proposing. That is all he is saying. The 1125 is within the jurisdiction of this board.
Tom Kozlevcar: But 1125 as far as I know does not define driveway and 301 has a definition.
Mayor Moll: But that doesn’t apply to 1125. The driveway purpose here is for the enforcement of traffic laws, not zoning.
Tom Kozlevcar: Say that again.
Mayor Moll: The driveway definition here is for the enforcement of traffic laws.
Patrick Wilson: Section 301 is enforced by the city police.
Tom Kozlevcar: Where do I find the definition for driveway for 1125?
Mayor Moll: The dictionary I guess if it is not in the ordinance.
Don Wittman: There is a section 1113 which has definitions.
Tom Kozlevcar: Do you have it there?
Don Wittman: Yes I do sir. There is not a definition for driveway.
Tom Kozlevcar: There isn’t one. How can you have an ordinance 1125 that says you have to park in a driveway but you don’t know what a driveway is.
Don Wittman: I think absent a legal definition within the code you would fall back to a dictionary definition.
Tom Kozlevcar: Good, even better. A dictionary definition says a private road leading from a public street to a building on the property like a garage.
Don Wittman: What if the driveway is to the front door? Your issue is you don’t like the pull off or turnaround in front of the building. By your own admission in the Council Meeting was that if it was on the other side of the driveway, you would be okay with it. You just don’t like it in front of the dwelling.
Tom Kozlevcar: Right. I am willing to compromise.
Mayor Moll: But we have driveways, and we have loop driveways that go in front of driveways.
Tom Kozlevcar: Right but that is for vehicular traffic.
Mayor Moll: I don’t understand it well enough to make a decision on that.
Bill Sasse: We are going to take this under advisement. We will discuss it at the next meeting. Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. Ma’am, do you have something you would like to say?
Marilyn Smith: I think you know why I am here.
Bill Sasse: No I don’t.
Tom Kozlevcar: Can I say one more thing? What should I do next? I’ve been referred from Council to Wittman, from Wittman to Council, from Council to that other technical committee, then to Zoning. Now what should I do? Sue my neighbor?
Patrick Wilson: Maybe you answered your own question. This board just told you it would take it under advisement. It may have it on its agenda at the next meeting. I don’t know, it will be up to them. If is on the agenda, you can come talk to them.
Bill Sasse: And you are here for Fowler Street.
Marilyn Smith: Yes. I did not ask them to put that in the paper.
Bill Sasse: Your name please.
Marilyn Smith: Marilyn Smith. I did not tell them, the Tribune called me. I don’t know whether there is politics in this or not. A couple weeks ago she called me and wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I said I would wait until the end of May because the weather has been bad but he should be getting rid of everything. The next thing I know she has it on the front page of the paper Sunday. I did not tell her to do that and I called today and I told her that. I said you even used my name. She had asked if I wanted my picture and I said absolutely not. I am 78 years old. I don’t need this crap. But I have had 3 homes and I have never had anything like the garbage that is down there. There is a van that is been there for I don’t know how long… years and they had blocks in front of it and they moved the blocks. They use it for storage. Right now jacked up no tires, the junk they are supposed to be moving is behind and outside the side of the garage. And he is saying his brother died – that was in ’07. He has had 6 years to clean it up.
Bill Sasse: Do we stand anywhere on this at all?
Patrick Wilson: I don’t know anything about this issue.
Bill Sasse: Don?
Patrick Wilson: Are you a neighbor of this property?
Marilyn Smith: I live just down the street. 112 Woodland Trace, the cheapest place my kids could plant me when my husband died. I went through zoning in Johnson- (unclear) so we were replacing a roof and we had to have a permit.
Patrick Wilson: What are we doing within the City of Cortland? What is the issue?
Don Wittman: Currently 346 Fowler Street and the disarray which was the subject of the newspaper article run by the Tribune in Sunday’s edition.
Marilyn Smith: My name and everything. I called her today and I want you to know that I did not tell her to put it in there.
Don Wittman: That is neither here nor there. The Board is not really concerned with the source of that.
Jim Chubb: We trust you because the paper will do whatever they feel like no matter what you tell them.
Don Wittman: She may have gotten a copy of the letter, the complaint that you had originally written which is how this started. The Police Chief is looking at it as junk and inoperable vehicles and enforcing it in that way. The only thing I can do is require a tag be placed on it for license and registration and I haven’t even been involved with it. I don’t even know if they are current or not.
Patrick Wilson: What Don is saying is if the Police chief determines a violation he can file through the court with the prosecutor and it will take less time and happen much more quickly that what Don can do.
Don Wittman: The totality of what is going on there, it is better to pursue it at the outset with a criminal violation because there is so much junk. It is not like a standard exterior property maintenance code violation where you have a few things here or there.
Marilyn Smith: He is saying his brother had it in ’07 and it has been there since and that is a lie because I have been down there 9 years.
Don Wittman: And if you read through a lot of the comments on the online publication they are on either side. The Police Chief is trying to work with the homeowner. There are some extenuating circumstances with elderly parents.
Mayor Moll: He doesn’t own the property, the parents own the property.
Marilyn Smith: That doesn’t matter, it shouldn’t be that way.
Mayor Moll: I know it shouldn’t but it makes it very difficult to go to court with somebody who is 92 years old and in a nursing home.
Marilyn Smith: I am not going to sign up to go to court.
Don Wittman: If I want to actively pursue it or if Tom wants to actively pursue it he could go out and file a complaint with Central District Court and haul the elderly gentleman into court at which point it would be set for trial, 3 to 6 months out. In which case it is trial pending and nothing is getting cleaned up. There has been improvement, since the police chief has been working with the homeowner has improved. Not dramatically…
Mayor Moll: It is better.
Marilyn Smith: It has improved ever since she called me on the phone and they have picked it up and put it out back.
Bill Sasse: Was that part of the article – out of sight, out of mind?
Patrick Wilson: Ms. Smith, you may want to talk to Chief Andrews then. Give him a call tomorrow.
Marilyn Smith: I don’t want anything to go to court. I just think as human being in this free country we shouldn’t have to look at that junk as long as we have a zoning committee.
Bill Sasse: In the defense of zoning, this has been brought up 6 or 7 times before. This isn’t the first time it has come to light.
Marilyn Smith: I have brought it up before.
Bill Sasse: And we have had questions about it off and on over the last ten years. This has been going on a long time. And it is what it is.
Marilyn Smith: They even had a mattress out there and since she called that mattress is gone.
Don Wittman: That also coincided with spring clean up.
Marilyn Smith: Oh, yeah.
Don Wittman: Well it did. He put stuff out at the curb for when the trash came by.
Marilyn Smith: It shouldn’t have been out in the front yard. He had it leaning against that tree by that swing. 3 or 4 years ago some organization came in there and painted their swing and cleaned that mess up. I forget what it was.
Charles Peck: It was “Make a Difference Day and I was part of that organization.
Marilyn Smith: And look at it since.
Charles Peck: I know what it was when we started and I know what it was when we finished and I know how quickly it reverted back to what it was before.
Bill Sasse: I drive by it every day. I just live over at Woodview and I am not happy about it either. I know what’s trying to be done on it and eventually that property is going to change hands and go to somebody else and maybe at that point it can be straightened out. I don’t know.
Marilyn Smith: I don’t know if I would want to live in that house. Thank you.
Bill Sasse: Any other questions? Any other information to be brought before this board? Can I have a motion to close?
James Chubb made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Charles Peck.
Roll Call: Scott Daffron, absent; Jim Chubb, yes; Sally Lane, yes; Charles Peck, yes; Bill Sasse, yes. MOTION APPROVED.
Meeting Adjourned: 7:32 pm.
_ ____ _______________________
Scott Daffron, Chairman Date Teresa Barnovsky, Secretary