Minutes: June 10th, 2009

Catawba Island Township Board of Zoning Appeals

June 10, 2009

The regular meeting of the Catawba Island Township Board of Zoning Appeals was called to order by Chairman Dale VanLerberghe at 7:30 in the conference room. Present were Tom Anslow, Jack DeVore, Dale VanLerberghe, Bryan Baugh, Sandra Erwin and Pat Cerny. The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the introduction of Board members and a brief overview of the meeting proceedings.

CASE #543408 – Resurrection Lutheran Church - 2370 NE Catawba Rd. – “A” District
The request is for a Use Variance from the Resurrection Lutheran Church, 2370 NE Catawba Road. Said request is to replace the current electric sign with an amber digital sign in the “A” District. Tim Rink, Financial Secretary for Resurrection Lutheran Church, has been granted authority to represent the church during this request.

Tim Rink stated the church recently received a very generous contribution from a church member to make improvements. The request would make it easier for the church secretary to change the message on the sign. She could send the message from her desk wirelessly out to a digital sign. The signage footprint would be identical to the sign currently in place including a brick base with two posts coming up and a white electric sign with black letters. Tim Rink noted the church would commit to making their messages stationary. The sign allows for change of the message electrically. There would be no scrolling or movement in the sign whatsoever. The sign could be set up so that during Advent or Lent the message would go blank and then a new stationary message would appear. There would be no red or green colors utilized that could possibly be confused with traffic signals.

Tim Rink noted the sign would be eight feet long (same as the current sign), three feet tall, and six inches deep. The same message would be displayed on both sides of the sign. Tim Rink understands the Township Trustees concern with opening Pandora’s Box by allowing a digital sign on Catawba Island, but he assures the church is only trying to be proactive in getting their message out to the sign and that the message would remain stationary and therefore giving the appearance of a stationary sign.

Jack DeVore asked if the sign would have the capability to make it scroll if so desired. Tim Rink said yes the sign would have that capability but they would commit, even by contract, to not make it scroll. Tim Rink said the church has no intention to allow movement on the sign because that is one of the concerns expressed to them and was never really something they envisioned doing. Their desire and intent is to expand the church and draw people in with their posted messages and planned activities.

Tom Anslow asked if the existing sign is lit at night. Tim Rink responded yes their sign is lit at night and the new sign would also be lit at night.

Jack DeVore said his main concern is once this type of sign is allowed, where does it stop. Tim Rink said they are willing to meet any restrictions or terms placed on the use of a new sign. Tim Rink said he understands current rules but feels there should be no material difference between this electric sign and its message and the sign that is in place now other than the ability to change the message electronically.

Bryan Baugh said he is not in favor of the sign because there is no other signage on Catawba Island that illuminates like the proposed sign. His said his fear is we would start seeing more signs like this and he feels it would take away from the ambiance of the island community. Bryan Baugh said he feels the church could improve their sign without installing an illuminated sign.

Dale VanLerberghe said his comments would echo the comments made by Bryan Baugh. Dale VanLerberghe said he can sympathize with the inconvenience of having to change the sign in inclement weather and also the desire to make the sign look nicer through a digital function, however he does not feel now is the time for such a sign on Catawba Island.

Bryan Baugh made a motion to approve Case #543408 as presented. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. Bryan Baugh, no; Sandy Erwin, no; Tom Anslow, no; Jack DeVore, no; and Dale VanLerberghe, no. Case #543408 does not pass.

Tom Anslow made a motion to approve the minutes as presented from the May 13 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. Sandy Erwin seconded the motion. Jack DeVore, yes; Bryan Baugh, yes; Tom Anslow, yes; Sandy Erwin, yes; and Dale VanLerberghe, yes.

Sandy Erwin made a motion to adjourn the meeting and Jack DeVore seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. Meeting adjourned.