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2011-036-1429-Z-106 - Application submitted by St Thomas University 1515 NW 167 Street, Building 5 Suite 200 Miami Gardens, Florida 33169 City of Miami Gardens Zoning Agenda Memo Zoning Board Meeting Date: March 2, 2011 Item Type: (Enter X in box) Resolution Ordinance Other X Fiscal Impact: (Enter X in box) Yes No Ordinance Reading: (Enter X in box) 1st Reading 2nd Reading x Public Hearing: (Enter X in box) Yes No Yes No X Funding Source: (Enter Fund & Dept) Advertising Requirement: Yes No x Contract/P.O. Required: Yes No RFP/RFQ/Bid #: X Strategic Plan Related: Yes No Strategic Plan Priority Area: Enhance Organizational Bus. & Economic Dev Public Safety Quality of Education Qual. of Life & City Image Communication Strategic Plan Obj./Strategy: N/A X Sponsor Name: Dr. Danny Crew, City Manager Department: Planning and Zoning Department Short Title: RESOLUTION NO. 2011____ A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA APPROVING THE APPLICATION SUBMITTED BY ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY FOR A VARIANCE OF SECTION 34.660.3(B) OF THE LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, REGULATIONS, TO ALLOW A ENTRANCE FEATURE WALL SIGN PLACED 45.0’ ABOVE GRADE ON A ARCHITECTURAL TOWER WHERE ONLY 6.0’ ABOVE GRADE IS PERMITTED FOR ENTRANCE FEATURE WALL SIGNS; A VARIANCE OF SECTION 34‐660.6(B) OF THE LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, TO ALLOW A ENTRANCE FEATURE WALL SIGN TO BE LOCATED 575.0’ FROM AN ENTRANCEWAY WHERE MAXIMUM SPACING OF 25.0’ FROM AN ENTRANCEWAY IS PERMITTED; A VARIANCE OF SECTION 34‐ 660.2(B) OF THE LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, TO ALLOW FOUR (4) ENTRANCE FEATURE WALL SIGNS WHERE A 64 SQUARE FEET WALL SIGN IS PERMITTED, FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 16401 N.W. 37TH AVENUE, MORE PARTICULARLY DESCRIBED ON EXHIBIT “A” ATTACHED HERETO; PROVIDING FOR CONDITIONS; PROVIDING FOR THE ADOPTION OF REPRESENTATIONS; PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Staff Summary: ITEM 10-B) RESOLUTION PUBLIC HEARING Application submitted by St. Thomas University St. Thomas University Sign Variance PH‐2011‐000060 2 | P a g e Background In February 2008 the City adopted new sign regulations with an intent and purpose that the “display of signs should be appropriate to the land, building or use they identify and be adequate, but not excessive, for the intended purpose of identification or advertisement.” The sign regulations were developed to be primarily applicable to the commercial centers and businesses along the City’s major roadways and not necessarily applicable to large properties and institutional type uses. A sign variance process was adopted as part of the regulations to allow the City Council to evaluate whether the intent and purpose of the regulations are being met, where in certain situations the regulations cannot be complied with, or may not be practical. Current Situation The applicant, St. Thomas University, due to its’ large property size (140 acres), institutional use, and location is one of those uses that the applicability of the regulations may not be practical and hence variances are being requested for the University to have the signage desired. St. Thomas University is proposing a 53.0’ high four sided architectural tower with the school’s name placed at the top to act as an entrance feature to the university. The tower will be located at the northwest corner of 140 acre site with visibility from N.W. 167 Street and the Palmetto Expressway. St. Thomas University currently benefits from a monument and entrance feature monument sign located at the main entranceway to the University on N.W. 37 Avenue and another entrance feature monument sign located at the northwest corner of the property at the same general location as the proposed architectural tower entrance feature wall signs. There is also a monument sign located at the secondary entranceway off N.W. 32 Avenue, and a small identification along N.W. 167 Street. From the heavily travelled Palmetto Expressway the existing entrance feature monument sign offers little identification or recognition recognition that the large 140 acre property is the campus of St. Thomas University. The University’s intent of the proposed architectural tower sign is to provide the identification that creates a landmark feature for the University bringing recognition to the University and the City of Miami Gardens. Proposed Action: City Staff recommends Council approval of the Resolution that permits the requested sign variances subject to the following conditions: 1. That the applicant submit and obtain sign plan approval from the Planning and Zoning Department for all required signs on the property, said sign plan to be substantially in compliance with plans submitted with this public hearing variance application. Said approval shall be obtained prior to the issuance of building permit for the proposed architectural tower entrance wall sign. 2. That the applicant removes from the property the sign labeled “E” on the submitted plans prior to final zoning inspection for the architectural tower entrance feature wall sign. Attachments: • Exhibit “A”, Legal Description • Exhibit “B”, Staff Recommendation ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY SIGN VARIANCE PH-2011-000060 EXHIBIT “B” STAFF RECOMMENDATION ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY SIGN VARIANCE PH-2011-000060 STAFF RECOMMENDATION PH-2010-000060 APPLICATION INFORMATION Applicant: St. Thomas University Property Location: 16401 N.W. 37 Avenue Property Size: 140 gross acres Future Land Use: Neighborhood Existing Zoning: AU, Agricultural and Utilities District Requested Action(s): 1. Variance of Section 34-660.3(b) of the Land Development Regulations to allow an entrance feature wall sign placed 45.0’ above grade on an architectural tower where only 6.0’ above grade is permitted for entrance feature wall signs. 2. Variance of Section 34-660.6(b) of the Land Development Regulations to allow a entrance feature wall sign to be located 575.0’ from an entranceway where maximum spacing of 25.0’ from an entranceway is permitted. 3. Variance of Section 34-660.2(b) of the Land Development Regulations to allow four (4) entrance feature wall signs 64 square feet each where one (1) 64 square feet wall sign is permitted. RECOMMENDATION: Recommend approval of the requested variances by Resolution subject to the following conditions: 1. That the applicant submit and obtain sign plan approval from the Planning and Zoning Department for all required signs on the property, said sign plan to be substantially in compliance with plans submitted with this public hearing variance application. Said approval shall be obtained prior to the issuance of building permit for the proposed architectural tower entrance wall sign. 2. That the sign labeled “E” on the submitted plans be removed from the property prior to final zoning inspection for the architectural tower entrance feature wall sign. REVIEW AND ANALYSIS Neighborhood Land Use Characteristics Property Future Land Use Zoning Existing Use Site Commerce AU, Agricultural and Utilities District University Campus North Commerce I-2, Industrial-Heavy, PCD, Planned Corridor Development Industrial, Commercial ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY SIGN VARIANCE PH-2011-000060 South Commerce AU -Agriculture Religious; Institutional; Educational East Neighborhood R-1, Single-Family Dwelling Residential District Single-Family Home West Neighborhood R-1, Single-Family Dwelling Residential District Single-Family Home The 140 acre property is developed as a university campus with related buildings and facilities. The Marian Center, a religious and educational complex is located to the south of the site. Directly abutting to the north is the Palmetto Expressway, with industrial and commercial uses developed on the north side of the Palmetto Expressway. The areas east and west of the site are developed with established single family neighborhoods. Project Summary/Background • St. Thomas University is a 140 gross acre campus site that spans between Eastbound N.W. 167 Street to the north, N.W. 32 Avenue to the east, N.W. 37 Avenue to the west, and N.W. 159 Street to the south. • The property is developed with multiple university buildings buildings and campus facilities with access off N.W. 37 Avenue with a secondary access of N.W. 32 Avenue. The University site is directly visible from the Palmetto Expressway. There is a large natural tree preserve located along the northerly portion of the site. • There are five (5) existing monument and monument type entrance feature signs located on the property. At the main entrance off N.W. 37 Avenue there is an existing monument sign and a monument entrance feature sign. At the secondary entrance off N.W. 32 Avenue there is also a monument sign, and along N.W. 167 Street there is a small identification sign. At the location of the proposed architectural tower entrance feature wall sign at the northwest corner of the property there is the fifth sign, a monument entrance feature sign. • Access to the property from the Palmetto Expressway primarily warrants exiting at N.W. 47 Avenue and travelling east along N.W. 167 Street and then south on N.W. 32nd or N.W. 37 Avenue to the university entrances. The proposed architectural tower entrance feature wall sign will be visible from the Palmetto Expressway as vehicles travel past the University site and as vehicles travel easterly along N.W. 167 Street toward the University. Zoning History Several previous zoning approvals have been granted by Miami-Dade County to the St. Thomas University property approving the existing signage including 4-ZAB-8-69, Z-68-86, Z-140-96, and EF-9-00. These approvals over time have approved the monument signs, entrance feature signs and the guard tower at the main entrance off N.W. 37 Avenue. Consistency with City of Miami Gardens Comprehensive Development Master Plan The proposed architectural tower entrance feature wall sign does not impact or change the use or the development on the property in a manner that is inconsistent with the Neighborhood ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY SIGN VARIANCE PH-2011-000060 designation of the property in the Future Land Use Element of the of the City of Miami Gardens Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP). Conclusion: The request is not inconsistent with the objectives and policies of the CDMP. Zoning Review and Analysis Section 34-47 Granting Variances and Waivers, states in relevant terms that: (A) Purpose and intent. A variance or waiver of the code is a departure from the dimensional or numerical requirements of this chapter where such variance or waiver will not be contrary to the public interest and where, owing to conditions peculiar to the property and not as a the result of the action of the applicant, a literal enforcement of the requirement would result in unnecessary and undue hardship. Establishment or expansion of a use otherwise prohibited shall not be allowed by variance, nor shall a variance be granted due to the presence of nonconformities in the zoning district or adjoining zoning districts. (B) Authorized variances and waivers. The zoning appeals board shall have the authority to grant the following variances: (1) A variance in the numerical yard or area requirements of any district where there are unusual and practical difficulties in carrying out these provisions due to an irregular shape of the lot, topography, or other conditions. However, such variance shall not seriously affect any adjoining property or the general welfare. (2) A variance when an owner can demonstrate that a strict application of the terms of the LDR relating to the construction or alteration of buildings or structures, the use of or relating to the use of the land will impose unusual and impractical difficulties, but not reduced financial value alone. The requests for variances are all related to one (1) proposed architectural tower entrance feature wall sign the will be located at the northwest corner to provide identification and recognition to the St. Thomas University campus that spans 140 acres between N.W. 167 Street to the north, N.W. 32 Avenue to the east, N.W. 37 Avenue to the west, and N.W. 155 Street to the south. The actual St. Thomas University sign will be sixty-four (64) square feet in size but located on an fours sides of the architectural tower that is 53.1’ high. “Section 34-649(a) – Purpose and Intent” states: “(a) These sign regulations and requirements are the minimum requirements to promote the public health, safety, comfort, good order, appearance, morals and general welfare, and to protect the character of residential, business and industrial areas throughout the city, and to conserve the taxable value of land and buildings and to protect the character and maintain the stability of residential, business, and industrial areas within the city and to promote the orderly and beneficial development of such areas. The display of signs should be appropriate to the land, building or use they identify and be adequate, but not excessive, for the intended purpose of identification or advertisement.” Considering the relatively large size of the University campus at 140 acres, and the large natural tree preserve along N.W. 167 Street the proposed 53.0’ high entrance feature wall sign is ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY SIGN VARIANCE PH-2011-000060 appropriate to the scale of the property and adequate, but not excessive, for the intended purpose of identification. The architectural tower entrance feature wall sign though located well outside the permitted 25.0’ of the entrance way will also promote the general welfare and appearance of the City of Miami Gardens by creating a recognized landmark symbolic of St. Thomas University which is in the City of Miami Gardens along the majorly travelled Palmetto Expressway. Conclusion: The requests for variances will not be contrary to the purpose and intent for the granting of variances and waivers stated in Section 34-47 of the Land Development Regulations. Anticipated Facilities Impact The subject application pertains to a proposed architectural tower entrance feature wall sign and does not add any additional use development on the property that as such, will not create additional impact upon the existing public services and facilities. Public Notification/Comments In accordance with Section 34-46(d)(7)(a) of the City’s Zoning and Land Development Code, notification of the applicant’s requests was mailed to all abutting property owners to provide them an opportunity to comment on the application. No comments were received from any one of them. (See Mailed Notice Radius Map, attached). Attachments: Public Hearing Checklist Letter of Intent Hearing Map-Zoning Hearing Map-Aerial Mailed Notice Affidavit Mailed Notice Radius Map Zoning History Submitted Plans and Survey Transmittal Notice