Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Gurnee Zoning Board of Appeals - March 17, 2010
Village of Gurnee
Joint Plan Commission & Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes
March 17, 2010
The meeting was called to order at 7:52 P.M.
Plan Commission Members Present: Stephen Park, Gwen Broughton, Sharon Salmons, Patrick Drennan
Plan Commission Members Absent: Chairman James Sula, David Nordentoft, Richard McFarlane
Zoning Board of Appeals Members Present: Chairman Tom Hood, Edwin Paff, John Spadaro, Denise
Smith, Jerry Kolar, Bob Monahan
Zoning Board of Appeals Members Absent: Don Wilson
Other Officials Present: Bryan Winter, Village Attorney; David Ziegler, Community Development Director; Tracy Velkover, Planning Manager; Molly Bacon, Associate Planner; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner
Ms. Broughton made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons, nominating Mr. Park as Pro tem Chairman.
Chairman Hood asked for a motion to approve the following meeting minutes.
1. a. Approval of Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for January 27, 2010. (ZBA only)
Mr. Spadaro made a motion, seconded by Mr. Paff, to approve the Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for January 27, 2010.
Ayes: Hood, Paff, Spadaro, Smith, Kolar, Monahan
Motion Carried: 6-0-0
b. Approval of Joint Plan Commission & Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for February 3, 2010.
Mr. Paff made a motion, seconded by Mr. Spadaro, to approve the Joint Plan Commission & Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for February 3, 2010.
Ayes: Hood, Paff, Spadaro, Smith, Kolar, Monahan
Motion Carried: 6-0-0
2. Public Hearing: Special Use Permit: Home Day Cares Centers on residentially zoned lots
Ms. Velkover summarized where the Village Code currently stands. She stated the Village allows home day cares in residential districts when someone cares for up to (5) five children and this is allowed by right. She stated when care is for (6) six, (7) seven or (8) eight children or more, it requires a Special Use Permit. She noted that currently the Village does not include the children of the provider into this count. She stated any one child that is related; either a foster child, adopted child or child of the home day care provider is excluded and not counted into this number.
She stated the way in which the number is counted is based on total enrollment and not the number of children at the facility at any one time.
Ms. Velkover stated recently the Fire and Building Codes were changed and this changed the number of children where a home day care triggers the Building and Fire Codes. She stated it is the desire to get the zoning codes in-line with what the Building and Fire Codes has done. She stated this is the 3rd meeting on this subject. She stated originally a public hearing was held followed up by a workshop session on February 3, 2010. She noted at that meeting it was discussed not only to get the number of children in-line with the building code but also looking at other issues. She stated one of the issues was looking at whether the Village should tweak the definition to include adults into the home day care definition. She stated based on the feedback received at the last meeting it was decided to not include adults into the home day care definition at this point and home day cares should be limited to children.
Ms. Velkover stated it was discussed whether to limit the number of children that could be cared for in a home day care center. She stated currently (5) five children by right are allowed and that (6) six children and above is a Special Use. She stated the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals decided to keep the Special Use Process for anything more than (6) six children. She stated the Commissions wanted to change the number to be capped at (8) eight children.
Ms. Velkover stated these changes are in the proposal before the Commission’s at this evening’s meeting. She stated any provider caring for (5) five children or under would be permitted by right and anyone proposing a day care center for (6) six, (7) seven or (8) eight children would have to go through a Special Use process with no ability for day care for (9) nine or more children.
Ms. Velkover stated another change made to the Ordinance is how the children are counted. She stated currently the provider’s children are not counted and that consensus from the last meeting was to include the provider’s children, which has been added to the definition. She stated from a code enforcement standpoint the number of children at the facility at any one time are not counted and it is the total enrollment at the facility which has caused some concerns from an enforcement standpoint. She stated there was some consensus, that the number of children at the day care be based on the number of children at the day care at any one time versus the number of total enrolled children. She stated these are basically the modifications before the Commissions noted in the notes as Option 1.
Ms. Velkover noted an Option 2 in the notes is offered for the Commissions to consider. She stated Option 2 is something that Staff bounced around based on feedback from the last Plan Commission / Zoning Board of Appeals Workshop meeting. She stated the only real change to this is instead of setting the threshold at (5) five children permitted and (6) six, (7) seven and (8) eight children being a Special Use Permit, the threshold permitted is set at (6) six children with no ability for over (6) six children at a home day care. She stated this is based on different comments from both Plan Commission Members and Zoning Board of Appeals Members who felt once a home day care is over a certain size they have external impacts on adjoining properties and should really be considered businesses. Again, she stated the only change in Option 2 is the number of children allowed at a home day care by right and the fact that there is no longer any possibility for a special use above the number permitted by right.
Pro tem Chairman Park suggested to list any questions from the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals members and obtain a first round of comments; then open this meeting for Public comments or thoughts, and then bring it back for discussion.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked for comments and questions from the Commission.
Ms. Smith had no questions or comments.
Mr. Kolar stated his position is to maintain (5) five children by right and Special Use Permit for (5) five or more, limiting it to (8) eight total children.
Mr. Paff asked Ms. Velkover if Option 2 was to limit or stop the request for Special Use Permits.
Ms.Velkover responded yes. She stated it would basically make it a home occupation for (6) six children and under. She stated currently the way in which the Ordinance is written it would be a home occupation for (5) five children and under and in this option the threshold was moved up by one which would be (6) children and it would be capped at this number with no ability for Special Use for more than (6) six children.
Mr. Paff asked if there were requests for more than (6) six children.
Ms. Velkover responded a fair amount of requests have been received for (8) eight children and that it seemed to be the most typical one that is seen.
Mr. Paff stated he doesn’t have a problem with Option 2 and noted if a person has (4) four children of their own, it only gives them (2) two additional children. He asked if this includes a provider’s own children.
Ms. Velkover responded yes, and no other parameters of the definition were being changed.
Mr. Spadaro stated he felt Option 2 is great for several reasons. He stated he did extensive research on other communities and other states on daycare requirements and included Illinois. He stated after reading the State requirements for Illinois he was quite surprised how stringent the requirements are and noted he doesn’t believe they are being enforced. He stated every property owner has the right to property enjoyment and believes Option 2 is great. He stated if day care providers want to run a business they should get a commercial building, pay their taxes, and give their revenue to the county and to the city. He stated if they want to run a home day care it should be limited to (6) six children. He stated this number is safe and effective and if their desire is to make more money, then they need to spend money and go commercial.
Mr. Monahan stated he knows the issue is the number of children that can be in a home at one time under day care. He stated his concern is the statue captures more conduct than the Commission may want. He stated in terms of a couple day babysitting, and asked if it may be in violation of the statue. He stated what he means is that this is for a regular stay of children in homes over and over again and perhaps a birthday party would be captured.
Ms. Velkover responded that common sense needs to be used. She stated it would not be for someone who had some children coming over here or there. She stated it is for an operation on a day to day basis where children are coming into a home in exchange for payment for their care.
Mr. Monahan asked if that is somewhere else in the statue.
Mr. Winter responded it is somewhat covered in the State provisions and DCFS. He stated the Village’s experience is people who utilize this route will have a license with the State of Illinois which is a requirement to take children in. He stated this is one of the methods for the Village to know who potentially may be subject to the Ordinance. He stated the Village periodically does an information request with DCFS to find out whether there are any operators of home day care within the Village that may be operating currently without a Special Use Permit because that is a requirement.
Mr. Spadaro stated another concern is that it was stated “less than 24 hours per day”. He asked if hours of operation could be added into the proposal with no earlier than 6:00AM and no later than 8:00PM for drop off or pick-up. He stated when using the words “24 hours” a day people could be dropping off children at 1 minute after 12:00 midnight and picking up children at 11:58PM which would be less than 24 hours and this could be a problem in someone’s neighborhood. He asked if specific hours of operation could be incorporated.
Ms. Velkover responded the Commission can do whatever they want with the definition. She stated from a code enforcement standpoint, it becomes difficult to enforcement something for the hours of operation. She stated “less than 24 hours” is language that is common throughout the Chicago metro area for most municipalities. She stated this is not something that Staff created and there is flexibility thus Commission can do whatever than want to do.
Mr. Winter stated this is probably more of an issue when the Village was considering Special Uses where the numbers were potentially significantly higher. He stated the panels can consider that with these restrictions the operation isn’t totally different from large families with comings and goings and is pretty predictable. He stated there certainly will be exceptions but it is in-line and this is the general nature for this type of provision.
Chairman Hood had no comments or questions.
Mr. Drennan asked what happens if a provider had 4 of their own children that are in school and they watch 4 children during the day; then their own 4 children arrive home at 3:00PM and they are watching the other 4 children until 6:00PM; which would equal 8 children at the home. He asked if this would be in violation.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated Option 1 would allow for that opportunity and Option 2 would not allow this.
Mr. Drennan asked if this is the intent.
Mr. Winter responded to be fair it has to be uniformly applied. He stated this would trigger the Ordinance as currently worded. He stated if this would be reported to the Village or if the inspection occurred it would be pointed out to the homeowner that it is a violation.
Ms. Broughton stated she prefers Option 2.
Ms. Salmons stated she prefers Option 2.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated the current threshold of a permitted right and then a Special Use has worked well for a number of years. He stated because there can be some impact, but if it monitored properly and assessed at the initial operation it is not necessarily bad to have it. He stated one of the comments made noted not wanting to have people operate a business out of their home. He stated by definition this is a business but stated he would maintain from his perspective these smaller type of businesses are much better for the children in a home setting than in a commercial setting. He stated this is not a Kindercare where there are 25-50 children. He stated he was glad “adults” was taken out of the proposal even though he is a proponent but it was not well defined or limited. He stated the Village’s traffic engineer stated traffic impact is incidental across the board on home day cares. He stated when talking about impact, the true impact needs to be looked at; not the worse case which could be 24 hours. He noted this is the perspective he is trying to view this from and stated at what point does it become a potential problem and asked are there adequate reviews before it can and / or enforcement. He stated he believes it is key to get the enforcement side of it as well.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked if there were any questions or comments from the Public and if so, to please be sworn in by the Village Attorney.
Mr. John Skittone of 2029 Ravine Drive in Gurnee stated for those who are considering Option 2 may not understand how limiting this option is. He stated if someone has 3 or 4 children it only means that they can provide care for 2 to 3 other children. He stated for someone who is watching 2 or 3 children part-time isn’t going to open a store front to make $3.00 - $5.00 per hour to watch 2 to 3 children. He stated in his neighborhood there are families who have 3-4 children who are in and out all hours of the night. He stated even if it was someone with no children who was watching 6 children full-time that most people would not know that was occurring across the street.
Mr. Winter stated as this is now seen in written form, he wants to remind the Board for historical perspective and consideration this evening that the original proposal was more in line with Option 2 just making it by right all the way up to the number of (8) eight children. He stated at that meeting there was concern about the number of children or clients. He stated now that the Board sees the definition of clients he reminds the panel that it is still an option that there would be no Special Use for up to (8) eight children if the panel is convinced that there may be a lot of circumstances that include counting in the number of children that are already there. He stated the number of (8) eight children is not as an imposing number. He stated perhaps when there is a scenario where the provider has (4) four children and it is made for (6) six children, then only (2) two additional children could be taken in for day care. He stated if making a hard cap of (8) eight clients under (12) twelve that still may be a possibility. He stated from Staff’s perspective, the reason this was originally proposed was that a number of Special Uses were done and it seemed that the number (8) eight was the tipping point. He stated there was at least one instance where the petitioner wanted more than (8) eight children. He stated generally the Plan Commission felt comfortable going to the number of (8) eight children and if that were consistently the feelings for the Plan Commission then you could go to the number (8) eight by right, avoiding some of the hearings for the very narrow number that is set forth in Option 1.
Ms. Broughton asked if that is the history, then what was the point of Staff offering Option 2.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated he believed it was reaction to a number of comments made at the last meeting. He stated both Commissions were all over the place after the last meeting.
Ms. Velkover responded that it didn’t seem that the Commission was supportive of the number of (8) eight children. She stated perhaps the Commission might be now be supportive of the number (8) eight children, because the definition has been tweaked due to the original the definition not including the provider’s children.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated this is key. He stated the current status is (5) five children not including the providers own children. He stated for example, if a provider had (3) three children of their own plus (5) five children for day care, the provider would be at (8) eight children. He stated the other issue that is important to address is the enforcement point. He stated this was discussed at the last meeting and asked if it is qualified by saying the total number of clients or how many children are there at any given time. He stated the impact is how many children are at a day care at any one time. He stated this is something for the Commission to consider as well.
Mr. Paff stated there is an impact when talking about more clients not just there at one time, but the noise factor of the children being there at one time. He asked what about the traffic. He stated children have morning and afternoon sessions of Kindergarten. He stated persons looking for day care for the other hours could mean (8) eight children at a day care with people coming and going at different times during the middle of the day. He stated this isn’t just (8) eight children that could be there, as it could be (16) sixteen children or even more if there are evening hours.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated not at any one time.
Mr. Paff noted he was just noting this as far as traffic.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated the Village traffic engineer stated traffic for these is incidental.
Mr. Paff stated but the traffic engineer doesn’t live next door to it. He stated the engineer is referring to if the street can handle it, which of course it can. He stated again, the traffic engineer is not the person living next door to a home day care. He also stated there is no limitation to the number of home day cares that can be on a block.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated this is one of the reasons that in the past have had a two stage component of up to a certain number of children by right and above that number it is a Special Use so you know how many are in the neighborhood or next door to residents. He stated these are important factors.
Mr. Paff stated he understands the issue of a provider with children off from school and other children at the home for day care. He stated he could understand the plight of the provider in this situation and asked if this could be written in to the proposal if it was on a temporary basis offering the example of Spring Break, as those clients still need day care.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked again for comments from the Commission.
Mr. Drennan had no comments.
Ms. Broughton stated because of the client issue she was not thinking of Option 2 and that is why she asked her question.
She stated she is for Option 1.
Ms. Salmons stated she agrees with Ms. Broughton and stated that (6) six children is really limiting if a provider has children of their own. She stated she is reversing to Option 1.
Ms. Smith referred to the survey and asked if the allowances are established or if any of them new allowances. She asked if this is the way it has been in other communities for a while or are any of them new.
Ms. Velkover responded that she knows that some of them (Waukgean, Libertyville and Grayslake) have changed and updated their codes recently.
Ms. Smith asked if the number of children increased in other cities.
Ms. Velkover responded she did not really know how their codes have changed.
Mr. Winter stated he believed that Waukegan recently increased the number of children. He stated he didn’t know if Staff knew if in the definition if this included children that reside at the home or not.
Ms. Velkover stated some of them do and some of them don’t.
Ms. Smith stated she wondered how this was working for Libertyville with (8) eight children allowed.
Mr. Kolar stated he is still maintaining (5) five children by right and (8) eight children by Special Use.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked to clarify when Mr. Kolar stated (5) five children by right and (8) eight children by Special Use; and asked if Mr. Kolar is including or excluding the children of the provider.
Mr. Kolar responded including the provider’s children.
Pro tem Chairman Park confirmed with Mr. Kolar using the example if the provider had (4) four children, then provider could then have (1) child by right from outside and they could have (4) four children from outside by Special Use.
Mr. Kolar responded correct.
Mr. Paff stated he is having a difficult time with this. He stated he believes people have the right to run a business and asked if there is are noise restrictions within the Ordinance. He noted he got a $25.00 ticket for his dog barking. He stated if people are good about this then he wouldn’t have a problem, but people are not always that way. He stated he would be okay with Option 1 to go to eight children by right with a cap at (8) eight children as long as the provider’s children are included.
Mr. Spadaro stated after careful consideration he agrees Option 1 is good as it includes the children of the providers up to a maximum of (8) eight children by right and capped at (8) eight children with no Special Use Permits. He stated any counts above (8) eight children he would like to see go into commercial business.
Mr. Monahan asked if this was about regular informal babysitting on a regular basis.
Mr. Winter responded it would have to be on a regular basis. He stated again, what Staff has found is that this is a very developed home occupation with licensing through the State of Illinois and with the premises inspected. He stated this is when it rises to the level and the Village’s Ordinances are triggered.
Mr. Monahan commented since these are licensed through the State, and asked if there are numbers and statistics about how many families and baby sitters that would be affected by the new Ordinance. He noted what is being talked about is the effect on the family and introducing a new Ordinance. He asked if it was known how many children the babysitters usually watch and who will be asked to cut back on the number of children that they watch
Mr. Winter stated the Village has some statistical information from DCFS.
Ms. Velkover responded the Village knows every licensed day care provider in the Village of Gurnee which is obtained from DCFS yearly. She stated there are approximately ten day care providers.
Mr. Monahan asked Ms. Velkover if she knew how many children were watched by each of the ten licensed day care providers.
Ms. Velkover responded most of them are between four and eight children. She stated there is one day care provider that watches 15 children.
Mr. Monahan asked if those numbers include the provider’s children.
Ms. Velkover responded DCFS does include the children of the provider.
Mr. Paff asked if a provider is grandfathered in if they have already been approved.
Mr. Winter responded they are grandfathered in if a permit has already been issued. He stated referring to the community home day care survey; the first proposal would make it red after (8) eight children. He stated again, the historical background is there have been 2 or 3 hearings on the subject and at least one of them was a request for more than (8) eight children. He stated it appeared the Plan Commission in each case was very concerned about the higher numbers. He stated under either Option 1 or revised Option 2 basically the proposal as Staff has understood it is that the Village should be going in the direction of capping the number of children at (8) eight.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated that Ms. Broughton maintains the best solution would be to have the opportunity by right including the provider’s own children to have up to (8) eight children total and after (8) eight children there is no provision at all.
Ms. Broughton stated that is correct.
Ms. Velkover stated that is basically Option 2, changing the number from (6) six children to (8) eight children.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated that is correct.
Pro tem Chairman asked if this is a motion.
Ms. Broughton motioned, seconded by Ms. Salmons, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board for Option 2 on the text amendment for home day care centers, subject to increasing the number of clients permitted by right from (6) six children to (8) eight children.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked for comments or questions on the motion.
Ayes: Salmons, Broughton, Drennan, Park
Motion Carried: 4-0-0
Chairman Hood asked for a motion from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mr. Spadaro motioned, seconded by Mr. Hood, to go along with the Plan Commission’s favorable recommendation for Option 2 on the text amendment for home day care centers, subject to increasing the number of clients permitted by right from (6) six children to (8) eight children.
Chairman Hood asked if there was any discussion on the motion.
Mr. Kolar stated he feels by right up to eight children is an excessive amount. He stated he still stands firm by the (5) five children by right and from (6) six children to (8) eight children as Special Use, capping the number no more than (8) eight children including the provider’s children.
Chairman Hood clarified the motion that allowed (8) eight children by right, including the children of the provider with capping the maximum number at (8) eight children.
Chairman Hood asked Mr. Kolar if the comment he is making is that he wants (5) five children by right.
Mr. Kolar responded (5) five children by right, from (6) six to (8) eight children by Special Use, capping the number at no more than (8) children including the provider’s children.
Chairman Hood asked the Zoning Board of Appeals members for any other discussion.
Chairman Hood asked for a roll call on the motion that is identical to the Plan Commission’s motion.
Ayes: Spadaro, Monahan, Paff, Hood
Nays: Kolar, Smith
Motion Carried: 4-2-0
3. Informal Review: Discussion of Possible Wind Energy Systems Regulations
Mr. Mentkowski stated the Commissions have previously discussed Wind Energy Systems. He stated the Plan Commission was presented with the information on January 20, 2010 and the Zoning Board of Appeals was presented with the information on January 27, 2010. He noted both Commissions have been provided with documentation which is the same as the presentation, but dated versions. He stated both Commissions have updated versions of the PowerPoint presentation and the Wind Energy Resource Guide which was developed by the Wind Energy Task Force of Lake County. He noted the updated version of the Wind Energy Resource Guide includes “noise” in the presentation. He also stated included is a copy of the final version of the Wind Energy Task Force Model Ordinance of which tonight’s discussion will be based from.
Mr. Mentkowski showed a brief seven minute video from Lake County introducing Small Wind Energy and noted the wind turbine mentioned in the video and located at Chipotle’s is 58 feet tall not 80 feet tall as stated in the video.
Highlights from the video include:
· Wind Technology is quickly evolving and a vast new array of wind energy systems is becoming available to the public.
· The State of Illinois has set a goal of providing 25% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2025.
· With Tax Incentives more and more business and schools in Northern Illinois and around the county are harnessing wind energy.
· Chipotle’s in Gurnee is the only restaurant in the world with a Platinum Certification for energy.
Mr. Mentkowski stated the model ordinance was developed with a purpose and intent to establish reasonable and uniform regulations for location, installation, operation, maintenance, and decommission of building mounted for both small and large wind energy systems. He stated this is to ensure any development of wind generated electricity in Gurnee is safe and to minimize any potentially adverse effects on the community. He stated in addition, it will promote the supply of sustainable wind renewable energy resources in support of National, State and local goals as well as facilitate energy cost savings and economic opportunities for Gurnee’s residences and businesses.
Mr. Mentkowski stated there were a lot of discussions about height, setbacks and types of structures. He stated some communities would really focus on everything must be a Special Use including wind turbines. He stated the group continued to think open minded about promoting the technology as well as ways to promote the technology but not to over-restrict it. He stated any ways to permit a wind turbine without having to go through a Public Hearing process cuts down on costs for a normal resident. He stated for a resident to go through a Public Hearing process involves applications, fees, and time.
Mr. Mentkowski referred to the building mounted wind energy which can be a horizontal axis or a vertical axis and is defined as a wind energy system that is structurally attached to a roof of or to the side of a building. He noted this would be for a principal structure, rather than an accessory garage. He stated this would be a permitted used in all zoning districts. He noted it would have to be no higher than (15) fifteen feet above the highest point in the building structure or (45) forty-five feet above grade, whichever is greater. He stated the height for commercial was permitted to be (15) fifteen feet above the highest point in the building structure with no maximum defined. He stated the model ordinance is not as specific for commercial regulations as it is for residential as the belief is residential is more important to focus on at this point, therefore the commercial regulations may have to be further defined by the Commissions if they feel it is warranted. He also stated there was no defining of setbacks from any of the property lines.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated if a wind turbine was side mounted on the side of a residence with a residence having a setback of five or seven feet from the side property line, and asked in theory if this could be projecting out to the property boundary.
Mr. Mentkowski responded in theory yes, and that is why he noted the Commissions may need to address this. He stated the existing code allows certain accessory structures or uses to project into required yards. He gave the example of a bay window that can project into a required front yard. He stated the window isn’t in the front yard, but it does limit it. He stated it would probably be best to provide a similar restriction which could be drafted, if so desired.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated he had some questions about the SWES, not building mounted but free standing, but focusing more on the commercial side. He referred to a clause under C that states one is permitted under any commercial zoning district and asked if that is per lot.
Mr. Mentkowski replied yes.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated, and then Gurnee Mills could have one wind turbine.
Mr. Mentkowski stated yes, by right. He stated language could be developed to fit the size of the property better than it does now. He stated he tried to urge the task force to work on and develop ideas for commercial. He stated the task force chose to focus on residential at this point, in order to provide an ordinance for residents as soon as it could.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked theoretically what would be done if ComEd wanted to put up wind turbines on their right of ways. He noted their right of ways run through commercial, residential, industrial and open space areas and asked what the requirement would be.
Mr. Mentkowski replied no thought had been given to this and it is something to consider as this model ordinance moves forward.
Mr. Mentkowski asked the Commission for any other questions relating to building mounted wind turbines.
Ms. Salmons stated she had a question for Staff. She wondered if anyone had ever seen or been close to wind turbines actually working and asked what the noise level is and. She also questioned the scenario of shadow flicker as it can cause seizures.
Mr. Mentkowski asked what size wind turbines she was referring to.
Ms. Salmons stated any size including those mounted on buildings and asked if neighbors would be bothered by these wind turbines. She stated she certainly wouldn’t want to hear a whooshing sound all night long.
Mr. Mentkowski responded he wasn’t planning on discussing the noise factor at this meeting. He stated he wanted to get an idea of whether the Commissions would want to consider wind turbines in Gurnee. He stated there are studies that indicate the large wind turbines may cause issues with a person’s mental focus and noted that is more from the large wind turbines. He stated his understanding of the sound that is heard is more of a tonal sound which is something a person cannot really hear and it is something that a person “feels”, such has the bass in a drum.
Pro tem Chairman Park raised the question to both sides of the Commission, and asked if this is a subject that the Commissions need to be pro-active in by presenting some level of regulation anticipating that it is something that would be coming or asked if it would be better to wait for the first wind turbine and then scramble like crazy.
Mr. Spadaro stated he believes this should be further researched and not looked at on a case by case basis. He stated from personal experience the wind turbine at Chipotle’s is not bad. He stated for example relating to satellite dishes before they came out, that there could be potential problems if person’s considered them for their residences. He stated the position of the blades if in direct east/west position of the sun setting and rising, could potentially cause problems for a neighbor. He stated the flicker would be just like strobe light and this is something to consider as it could cause seizures or accidents on the street. He stated in looking at Chipotle’s wind turbine it appears there were good engineering studies completed with the turbine being mounted towards the southwest side of the building which isn’t in-line with the traffic on Grand Avenue and the same in the evening as the turbine is recessed back.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated that may be a location advantage that Chipotle’s has and others would not.
Mr. Spadaro stated if Red Lobster had a wind turbine it would be a problem for people coming home in the evening heading west on Grand Avenue with sun in their eyes let alone a blade from a wind turbine. He stated it would be best to do further research on this before voting on or making a recommendation.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked if this was the general feeling from the Commission.
Mr. Kolar stated Chipotle is located right next to ComEd’s tower line and this is one reason this wind turbine was allowed as it blended in with the existing tower line structures and wasn’t an issue when brought forward for the vote.
Mr. Paff asked if any seizures have been documented.
Mr. Mentkowski replied there has been one seizure issue known as the “Pierpont” study which has been documented and from his understanding the study is not very technical, as well as containing holes within in the research. He stated there will be more and more research done from the noise that may affect persons in different ways. He noted Dr. Tom Thunder put together noise regulations for this model ordinance which was going to be addressed to this Commission at a later date. He stated as far as research, he strongly recommends that the Commission looks at the Wind Energy Resource Guide that was put together. He noted a lot of hours were put into the Guide which explains shadow flicker, noise, icing, as well as the different types of monopoles and turbines. He stated some of the concerns that are raised in relation to the smaller wind turbines are not as large of an issue as compared to a large, 400 foot tall utility scale turbine. He stated the model ordinance does mention large wind energy due to Lake County putting together restrictions for potential large wind farms. He stated Staff is not recommending at this point allowing a large wind farm and is focusing on building mounted and small wind energy systems in the Village.
Mr. Mentkowski stated the “height” is open for debate and noted the model ordinance recommends a maximum of 75 feet in height for a small wind system which would be a Special Use. He noted the model ordinance states where a small wind is permitted by right, the maximum height allowed for 1 acre or less of property is 45 feet; 1-5 acres of property the maximum height allowed is 75 feet; and over 5 acres of property the maximum height would be 125 feet. He stated anything above 125 feet in height, located on over 5 acres of property would be a Special Use. He noted these numbers are recommended by Lake County but are open for discussion.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked what the plan is for dealing with this issue not just for a model ordinance done by the task force, but for a Draft Ordinance that would be considered by the Village. Mr. Park stated the general terms in concept of the wind energy were discussed at the last meeting as well as at tonight’s meeting, and asked what the next step would be. He asked if there is more education needed, or if the Commission should start to dissect how an actual ordinance would be addressed for the Village as opposed to a model ordinance that may not be fully thought out, i.e. commercial buildings.
Mr. Mentkowski responded he envisions this by taking the model ordinance and dissecting it apart and make it Gurnee’s. He stated this is what was envisioned while being on the task force as the document would be different for every community making it their own. He stated the Commission can go section by section and ultimately what has been done by the Task Force has provided a great base to work from.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked if Mr. Mentkowski believes this should be done section by section with the general provisions as one discussion, residential as one discussion, and commercial as one discussion to get an entire ordinance together, and then the Commission discussing it through.
Mr. Mentkowski responded it is up to the Commission as to what they can handle. He stated he can put together an entire ordinance for the Commission to discuss. He noted what he compiled for this evening’s meeting was to break down bigger pieces of the model ordinance which include height and setbacks which are basically the two biggest pieces that generally were brought up in the task force early discussions. He stated he felt these were good points to tackle first with both Commissions.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked for any other questions or thoughts from the Commission members.
Ms. Salmons asked if there is at the present time a moratorium on wind energy in Gurnee.
Mr. Mentkowski responded that is correct.
Ms. Salmons asked if there would ever be a time that one of the big wind turbines would ever be approved, as on Hunt Club Road there are properties that are 5 and 10 acres and even larger. She asked if it would ever be contemplated to put one of the big wind turbines out in one of those areas.
Mr. Mentkowski responded that is what he would like to find out.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated it’s been questioned how big is big enough and asked what if the Merit Club wanted to put a big wind turbine in the middle of their golf course.
Mr. Mentkowski stated under the current proposal maximum height would be 175 feet as a Special Use.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated he didn’t know if that would be good or bad. He stated he didn’t know where they would put the wind turbine.
Ms. Salmons stated obviously it couldn’t be near any residential property.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated the golf course is zoned residential.
Mr. Mentkowski stated there are setback regulations that state the 1.1 distance and the setback is 110% of the height of the tower.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated if the tower was 175 feet in height, in round numbers it would be around a 190 - 200 foot setback.
Mr. Mentkowski stated this is limited by the State. He noted the State has limited the home rule power on the setback and 110% is the most the Village can require. He stated one item that is proposed is if the wind turbine is within 500 feet of a residential zoned property, the height of the wind turbine is limited to 100 feet. He stated the height is measured from the grade to the tip of the turbine blade.
Mr. Park asked the Commissions, if this something that everyone feels should be pursued and have the issue brought before the Commissions with more research and full discussion.
Mr. Monahan asked if there has been a ground swell of applications for this type of thing and what the numbers are in terms of persons wanting to put up wind turbines.
Mr. Mentkowski responded there have been a couple of calls asking, but there cannot be an application taken in at this point.
Ms. Velkover stated there have actually been between 5 and 10 inquiries within the last year. She stated as the tax credits come in for energy efficiency this is something every community is starting to look at. She stated Gurnee is not the only community in the area that has enacted a moratorium. She stated this is something that all communities are preparing for and it is not something that the Village is trying to prohibit, but is to get reasonable regulations so that the structures can be put up in such a way that it doesn’t negatively impact adjoining properties.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked for the Commission members to raise their hands if they do not think this is something to pursue and spend time on. He stated, therefore, by definition the Commission does need to spend time on this.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked the Commission members if this would be done better by piece by piece; or have Staff come back with a package to see how the commercial general regulations and residential all interrelate.
The Commission members stated it would be better done all together.
Mr. Mentkowski stated he took the model ordinance and tried to pull out some of the major issues for tonight’s meeting.
Mr. Mentkowski asked the Commission what is meant by more research. He stated the major concerns mentioned tonight are shadow flicker, sound/noise.
Mr. Park stated it was discussed what regulations by what type of use such as residential, multi-family vs. single family vs. retail and office.
Mr. Hood asked about restricting it to just commercial use.
Mr. Mentkowski stated that was how he had envisioned it and asked how the Commission wanted it broken down; retail or industrial.
Pro tem Chairman Park stated that is something to be done within the research.
Ms. Salmons stated there are chances with the government incentives/tax credits that a homeowner would want to do this.
Mr. Mentkowski stated there is residential and non-residential and asked if the Commission feels the same way.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked if there needs to be a difference residential / single family and residential other than single family, i.e. multi-unit townhouses. He stated he is reminded of the satellite issues and their proliferation of what could and could not be done. He stated the same kind of questions may come up and the Commission needs Staff’s guidance and research to know whether or not it is worth pursuing.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked for other questions from the Commission.
Mr. Monahan asked if there is any room in an Ordinance such as this to take aesthetics into account.
Mr. Mentkowski stated there are ways to accomplish this by the type of pole a small wind turbine is mounted on. He noted there are monopoles, lattice towers, and guide wire towers. He stated the monopole provides a cleaner looking installation, but it does add to the cost. He stated esthetically as far as the turbine itself, it is a more difficult task and would be a subjective one in his opinion.
Chairman Hood asked for Mr. Mentkowski assistance to guide the Commission concerning wind turbines.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked Mr. Mentkowski what the time frame is for accomplishing a model ordinance.
Mr. Mentkowski responded the moratorium ends in June or July and he would be able to create a document for the Commission to review in a month.
Chairman Hood asked Mr. Mentkowski if he would be putting together a model ordinance and setting another workshop.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked Mr. Mentkowski to provide the Commission what is being proposed with a visual representation so the Commission members can see what the wind turbines being proposed look like in reality and to include pictures and graphs if needed.
Pro tem Chairman Park asked for a motion to adjourn.
Ms. Salmons made a motion, seconded by Mr. Spadaro, to adjourn.
The Meeting was adjourned at 9:17 P.M.
Plan Commission Secretary