O’Reilly Auto Parts must change design plan before coming to NilesPublished 9:02am Friday, May 30, 2014
Niles said “O-O-O” no to O’Reilly Auto Part’s request to deviate from the rules laid out in the city’s South 11th Street overlay.
According to the zoning ordinance, businesses on the busiest street in Niles must have at least 30 percent of a street-facing wall covered by windows or a similar material.
O’Reilly, which plans to build at a vacant lot on the corner of Superior and South 11th streets, asked the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals Wednesday if it could forgo putting windows on the side of the building that would face Superior Street.
Speaking in the public comment portion of the meeting, City Administrator Ric Huff said he was opposed to the variance request. The location of the building, he said, would be 10 feet higher than any other building in the area, causing it to sit up “like a castle on a hill.”
Motorists traveling north on South 11th Street, he said, would see an unattractive blank wall if windows were not installed on the south-facing side of the building.
“This is the wrong place to apply a variance,” Huff said. “It is way too high profile a location.”
Wade Lininger, speaking on behalf of O’Reilly Automotive Stores, said placing windows on that wall would result in greater construction and utility costs.
Huff suggested that O’Reilly place fake glass on the south-facing wall.
Zoning Board member Paul Crouch agreed.
“This idea of fake glass would solve the issue,” he said.
The zoning board denied the request.
Juan Ganum, Niles community development director, said O’Reilly’s next step would be to revisit its plans for the exterior of the building.
Lininger said current plans have O’Reilly satisfying the ordinance’s 30-percent window coverage on the side of the building that would face South 11th Street.
The zoning board also denied a variance request by Fred Boothby to place two wall signs on the structure at 20 N. Second St. The first sign would read “20 N” and be placed on the front of an awning above a second story window. According to the city’s central business district sign regulations, signs cannot be placed above a second story window. The second sign would read “on the river” and be placed on the front of a first floor awning. The sign ordinance also does not allow for two wall signs.
Also Wednesday, the planning commission considered a site plan for the remodeling of the existing Burger King at 1250 S. 11th St.
Ganum said the planning commission preferred the most recent exterior design. He said the commission could consider final approval of the site plan at the June meeting.