Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Zoning Board of Appeals - May 20, 2009

Village of Gurnee

Joint Plan Commission & Zoning Board

of Appeals Meeting Minutes

May 20, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M.

Plan Commission Members Present:       Chairman Pro-tem Nordentoft, Gwen Broughton, Richard McFarlane,
                                                            Sharon Salmons, and Patrick Drennan

Plan Commission Members Absent:        James Sula and Stephen Park

Zoning Board Members Present: Chairman Tom Hood, Edwin Paff, Don Wilson, John Spadaro, Jerry Kolar,
                                                            Denise Smith, and Mike Deimler                 

Zoning Board Members Absent:              None

Other Officials Present:                          Bryan Winter, Village Attorney; Tracy Velkover, Planning Manager; Molly Bacon, Associate Planner; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner; David Ziegler, Community Development Director

Mr. McFarlane made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to appoint Mr. Nordentoft as Chairman Pro-tem for tonight’s meeting in Mr. Sula’s absence.

1. a.     Approval of February 25, 2009 Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes

Mr. Paff made a motion, seconded by Mr. Wilson, to approve the Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for February 25, 2009.

Roll Call
Ayes:                Paff, Wilson, Spadaro, Kolar, Smith, Deimler, and Hood
Nays:                None
Abstain:            None
Motion Carried:  7-0-0

1. b.     Approval of March 11 2009 Joint Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals Workshop Meeting Minutes

Mr. Paff made a motion, seconded by Mr. Wilson, to approve the March 11, 2009 Joint Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes

Roll Call
Ayes:                Paff, Wilson, Spadaro, Kolar, Smith, Deimler, and Hood
Nays:                None
Abstain:            None
Motion Carried:  7-0-0

2. Public Hearing:  Public Hearing:  Recreational Uses in the I-2 General Industrial District (Zoning Text Amendment)
Ms. Bacon stated that Mr. Ray Sorenson is proposing an amendment to the text of the Gurnee Zoning Ordinance to add recreational uses, including health clubs and special sports instruction (i.e., self defense, gymnastics, etc.) to the list of special uses in the I-2, General Industrial District.  Ms. Bacon said that the petition was brought about by a potential tenant of Mr. Sorenson’s who wanted to open a martial arts studio. 

Mr. Sorenson stated that he owns the building located at 1391 St. Paul Avenue.  The building is set up for two tenants.  A Sign Now, which is a sign contractor/installation business, operates from the eastern side of the building, while Mr. Sorenson’s art studio operated for 15 years from the western portion of the building.  Mr. Sorenson stated that he moved his art studio across the street about 5 years ago and that this space has been vacant since.  He has been looking for opportunities to rent the space, when he was approached by Mr. Cook, who was looking to re-start his martial arts studio.  Mr. Sorenson stated that the tenant space is perfect for this type of use since it is very open and has lots of windows.    

Mr. Gerrry Cook, 38262 N. Garrity, Beach Park, stated that he has taught martial arts for 28 years in the Zion and Beach Park area.  He wants to open a studio in Gurnee.  Mr. Cook started to testify about specific business operations for his proposed facility at 1391 St. Paul Avenue.

Ms. Velkover clarified that the request before the Plan Commission and ZBA is an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance; specifically whether “recreational uses, including health clubs and special sports instruction (i.e., self defense, gymnastics, etc.)” should be added to the list of special uses in the I-2 district.  She noted that getting into the details of Mr. Cook’s operation at this specific site is related to the request for the Special Use Permit, which is scheduled for review by the Plan Commission immediately after this hearing is completed.  She indicated that the Plan Commission and ZBA could ask Mr. Cook general information about his operation if it helps with understanding the general use and whether the use is appropriate for the I-2 district as a special use.  In addition, she noted that if the Boards are receptive to this use in the I-2 district, they should also consider recommending its inclusion into the special use list of the I-1 district.  She noted that this type of use is not allowed in the I-1 district, which is a less intense industrial district.  She has consulted with the Village Attorney regarding the legal advertisement that was placed for this hearing and he feels that because it stipulates that the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals may also consider such other relief as may be necessary or desirable in connection with the application, the I-1 district may be added to the recommendation.

Mr. Wilson asked how many students would be at the martial arts studio at any one time.  He expressed concern about the possibility that the Village could face a situation like at Ultimate Gymnastics, where a special event caused overflow parking on the street in the Grand Tri-State Business Park.  The Police Department was ticketing these vehicles because on-street parking is not allowed in that area.

Mr. Winter stated that Mr. Wilson’s concern is exactly why this use is proposed to be a Special Use.  If this text amendment is approved, then any use of this type would have to come before the Village for review of their specific operation.  At that time, there would be discussion regarding the number of students, amount of parking, and if special events were to take place on-site.  Conditions can then be placed on the special use to ensure that these commitments are maintained, so that the use does not negatively impact adjoining properties.  In the case of Ultimate Gymnastics, the Special Use Permit allowed the Village the opportunity to remedy the situation.  If this use were permitted by right, it would have been a much more difficult process.

Ms. Smith asked about the hours of operation for the martial arts studio. 

Mr. Winter stated that the hours of operation are usually defined as a condition of the Special Use.

Chairman Pro-tem Nordentoft opened the floor to the public.  There was no one from the public wanting to speak or ask questions on this petition.  The floor was closed.  

Mr. Paff made a motion, seconded by Mr. Spadaro, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board on a text amendment add recreational uses, including health clubs and special sports instruction (i.e., self defense, gymnastics, etc.) to the list of Special Uses in the I-1 and I-2 zoning districts.

Roll Call
Ayes:                Paff, Wilson, Spadaro, Kolar, Smith, Deimler, and Hood
Nays:                None
Abstain:            None
Motion Carried:  7-0-0

Mr. McFarlane made a motion, seconded by Drennan, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board on a text amendment add recreational uses, including health clubs and special sports instruction (i.e., self defense, gymnastics, etc.) to the list of Special Uses in the I-1 and I-2 zoning districts.

Roll Call
Ayes:                Broughton, Drennan, McFarlane, Salmons, and Nordentoft
Nays:                None
Abstain:            None
Motion Carried:  5-0-0

 

3. Public Hearing:  Commercial Vehicle parking/storage exemption – Zoning Text Amendment for Utility Company Vehicles
Ms. Velkover stated that about six months ago the Village adopted a commercial vehicle parking ordinance for both residentially zoned and used properties. She stated this ordinance is due to take effect September 1, 2009.  She noted that at the time the ordinance was presented to the Village Board there were exemptions for certain vehicles, such as school buses on church and school properties and vehicles making deliveries or conducting repairs.  She noted that the ordinance did not contain an exemption for utility company vehicles that were responding to an emergency situation.   She stated the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals felt that instead of writing specific language into the ordinance, utility companies could be allowed an exemption upon request and approval from Village Administration.  Ms. Velkover stated that the Village Board was not comfortable with this approach.  Instead, the Board wanted to know if any utility company employees drove vehicles home on a regular basis that would  violate the ordinance.   They also wanted to know whether any of their employees would have vehicles that would violate the ordinance during times of emergencies.   Ms. Velkover provided both Commonwealth Edison and North Shore Gas with copies of the Village ordinance.  Com Ed and North Shore Gas reviewed the ordinance for approximately 3 months and determined that they do not have any employees that take trucks home on a regular basis that would violate the ordinance.  However, Com Ed indicated that they could have employees take trucks home in times of emergencies, such as power outages caused by storm damage, which would violate the ordinance.  Since the Village Board wanted this addressed formally instead of with an informal non-written policy, a text amendment is proposed which would add the following language to the ordinance:

  • utility company vehicles that are responding to an emergency situation or are on-call for an emergency situation are exempt from the commercial vehicle parking ordinance requirements.

Mr. Nordentoft asked for any questions from the Plan Commission.

Mr. McFarlane asked what the definition of “on-call” is.  He stated that his definition would be that someone would be out every night with a truck.

Ms. Velkover responded she does not have a specific definition for on-call and could probably strike this.

Mr. McFarlane stated he is comfortable with what is an emergency situation but is uncomfortable with what is on-call.

Mr. Kolar stated that when someone is on call they have their cell phone and beeper and if there is an emergency, they respond to the emergency.   He stated you are on 24/7; usually a week on and three weeks off, depending upon how many foremen are on call. He stated employees do not bring their large commercial trucks home and response is usually in their own personal vehicle.

Ms. Velkover verified that if someone is on-call, they do not bring their commercial vehicle home unless there is an emergency.

Mr. Kolar responded that was his position when he worked for Commonwealth Edison.

Ms. Velkover stated this definition was provided to both Commonwealth Edison and North Shore Gas who felt this would work for their emergency situations.  She said if the Board is still uncomfortable with the definition she would enter into more discussions with the utility companies before adopting anything into the ordinance.

Mr. Wilson stated the sentence reads “responding to an emergency situation or on-call for an emergency situation”.  So its just not an employee that is on-call, its an employee that is on-call in response to an emergency situation.

Ms. Velkover responded yes that is true.
.
Mr. Nordentoft asked for any other questions from the Plan Commission and asked if the Plan Commission is prepared to make a motion.

Ms. Salmons made a motion, seconded by Mr. Drennan, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board on the text amendment to the commercial vehicle parking ordinance as proposed by staff.

Roll Call
Ayes:                Broughton, Drennan, Salmons, and Nordentoft
Nays:                McFarlane
Abstain:            None
Motion Carried:  4-1-0

Mr. Kolar made a motion, seconded by Mr. Wilson, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board on the text amendment to the commercial vehicle parking ordinance as proposed by staff. 
Roll Call
Ayes:                Paff, Wilson, Spadaro, Kolar, Smith, Deimler, and Hood
Nays:                None
Abstain:            None
Motion Carried:  7-0-0

4. Public Hearing:  Fence or Wall Definition (Zoning Text Amendment)
Ms. Velkover stated that this correction relates to the type and height of fence that is allowed in a front yard.  The fence ordinance allows a slightly taller fence in the front yard if the fence is semi-open, versus if it is closed.  However, she noted that the definitions of “semi-open fence” and “closed fence” in the Zoning Ordinance are wrong.  The definitions somehow got flipped, so that the “semi-open fence” definition is attached to “closed fence” and vice versa. 

Specifically, the current definition of a closed fence or wall reads “a structural fence or wall that is constructed so that more than 50% of the superficial surface consists of regularly distributed apertures” whereas the definition of semi-open fence or wall reads “that no more than 50% of superficial surfaces consists of regularly distributed apertures”. She stated that since an aperture is an opening, the wording no more than 50% needs to be removed from the semi-open and put into the closed fence wording.    Thus, the definition of a closed fence would read “a structural fence or wall that is constructed so that no more than 50% of the surface of the fence consists of regularly distributed apertures” and semi-open fence would read “a structural fence or wall that is constructed so that more than 50% of the surface of the fence consists of regularly distributed apertures”.

Mr. Nordentoft asked for questions or discussion from the Plan Commission.

Mr. Hood asked for questions or discussion from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Drennan made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board to correct the definitions of semi-open fence and closed fence, as presented by staff.

Roll Call
Ayes:                Broughton, Drennan, McFarlane, Salmons, and Nordentoft
Nays:                None
Abstain:            None
Motion Carried:  5-0-0

Mr. Wilson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Deimler, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board to correct the definitions of semi-open fence and closed fence, as presented by staff.

Roll Call
Ayes:                Paff, Wilson, Spadaro, Kolar, Smith, Deimler, and Hood
Nays:                None
Abstain:            None
Motion Carried:  7-0-0

The Meeting was adjourned at 7:55 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted:

Joanne Havenhill
Plan Commission Secretary