Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Plan Commission - June 15, 2011

  

Village of Gurnee

Plan Commission Minutes

June 15, 2011

 

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

 

Plan Commission Members Present:       Chairman James Sula, David Nordentoft, Sharon Salmons, Patrick Drennan

 

Plan Commission Members Absent:        Richard McFarlane, Gwen Broughton

Other Officials Present:                          Bryan Winter, Village Attorney; Tracy Velkover, Planning Manager; Scott Drabicki, Village Engineer; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner

 

1.  Approval of Plan Commission Meeting Minutes for June 1, 2011.

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons, to approve the Plan Commission Meeting Minutes for

June 1, 2011.

 

Roll Call

Ayes:                Sula, Nordentoft, Salmons, Drennan

Nays:                None

Abstain:            None

Motion Carried:  4-0-0

 

2.   Continued Minor Sign Exception:  Warren Township High School

Chairman Sula stated that the high school has found a way to construct their sign without requiring a minor exception to the sign setback.  He stated that he very much appreciates that this has been accomplished. He noted that this item has thus been removed from this evening’s agenda.

 

3.  Public Hearing: Petition of Dan Riedel (American Tradesman) for Rezoning and Approval of a Preliminary PUD for property located at the southeast corner of Washington and Cemetery Road

Ms. Velkover stated that Mr. Dan Riedel, President of American Tradesman, is the owner of two parcels located at the southeast corner of Washington Street and Cemetery Road.  She stated the first is a 2.3-acre parcel that is zoned C/B-2, Community Business District, as a Planned Unit Development in the Village of Gurnee (part of the Southridge PUD) and the second parcel is a 4.4-acre tract that is currently not within the Village limits.  She stated that parcel is zoned R1, Residential, in Unincorporated Lake County.


Ms. Velkover stated Mr. Riedel is seeking to rezone the parcel that is currently located in the County to C/B-2, Community Business District at a Planned Unit Development, except for the south 160 feet, which he is proposing to rezone to C/O-1, Restricted Office as a Planned Unit Development.  She stated he is also seeking Preliminary PUD Plat approval for an approximate 46,000 sq. ft. commercial/office development on the overall 6.7 acre site. She stated this property is reflected on the Village’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan as commercial. 

 

Ms. Velkover stated that, as part of the PUD, the petitioner is requesting the following departures:

  1. Increasing the building height from 35 feet to 36 feet for the tower on Building #1 and 40 feet for the towers on Buildings # 2 and #3.
  2. Allowing for the subdivision of the site into lots that do not have direct frontage on a publicly dedicated street.  Instead the lots will be provided access to a publicly dedicated street via an access easement.
  3. Eliminating the foot-candle threshold between lots within the PUD.
  4. Reducing the building setback requirement from the north property line for that portion of the building that is south of residentially zoned property on the north side of Washington Street from 50 feet to 30 feet.
  5. Reducing the parking setback to the residential property to the south from 30 feet to 20 feet and reducing the parking/drive-aisle setback from the east property line to 5 feet.
  6. Eliminating building setbacks to the property lines internal to this PUD.
  7. Eliminating the Floor Area Ratios (FAR), Lot Coverage, and Lot Size requirements for the individual lots within the PUD, while maintaining the overall FAR, Lot Coverage, Lot Size and building setback requirements (except those already noted above that are requested for departure).

 

She stated as amenities in exchange for these departures, the petitioner will provide information regarding their landscaping, lighting, architecture, and use restrictions, including but not limited to restricting building size to reflect this site as a neighborhood commercial development instead of a regional commercial development.

 

Chairman Sula stated this is a Public Hearing, and asked that anyone from the petitioner or members of the general public who intend to either give testimony or ask questions stand and be sworn-in by the Village Attorney.

 

Chairman Sula opened the floor to the petitioner.

 

Mr. Dan Riedel, petitioner, introduced himself and Glenn Christensen of Manhard Consulting, Landscape Architect and Tom Miles, Engineer.  He stated previously in 2003 – 2004 he proposed a similar project on this site.

 

Chairman Sula stated because the previous proposal was not approved and therefore, should not be referred to this evening.

 

Mr. Riedel stated they withdrew the previous petition at that time due to the widening of Washington Street. He stated they do not have any businesses standing by to move into this project, but would like to get the zoning approvals in place allowing for easier marketing of the site and quicker turnaround for businesses interested in the property.

 

Mr. Glenn Christensen, Senior Planner/Landscape Architect with Manhard Consulting stated this project was previously before this Board, reviewed and recommended back in March 19 and May 7 of 2003. He stated that over the past 1-2 years the negotiations with Lake County DOT for road right of way and access have been completed. He stated Washington Street is near completion with the access as proposed based on the plan that is before the Commission this evening. The farm house and out buildings have been removed with the County site and the property has been farmed since 2003. He stated the site is located at the southeast corner of Washington Street and Cemetery Road. He noted landmarks in the area with those being Six Flags, the Tollway and Hunt Club Road. He noted that one portion of the site is currently zoned as C/B-2 PUD, which was done as part of the Southridge project and part of an annexation agreement from 1988.

 

Mr. Christensen stated the PUD development plan is on 6.7 acres of land and six (6) separate building locations are being proposed. He stated the Plat that is adjoined to the application shows the lot lines around each of the buildings depicting six (6) individual lots within the site with the remainder of the site contained within Out lot A, which will provide for access, utilities, landscaping and storm water management. He stated this would be maintained and run by an Association that will be created for the property owners of the buildings.

 

Mr. Christensen stated access to the site by means of Washington Street and Cemetery Road includes new improvements. The Washington Street right-in and right-out at the east end of the project is already constructed.  He stated two other access points will be a full access on Cemetery Road near the south end of the site and a right-in and right-out further north.  He stated the parking lot is within good walking distance of all the uses and is located behind the buildings, not in view of Washington Street.  The site plan provides good circulation and access to service all the properties. He pointed out the pedestrian access on the plan and noted when the pedestrian access meets the parking areas it will be stripped to indicate the cross-walks. He stated the sidewalk along Cemetery Road is complete and cross walks at the Cemetery Road/Washington Street intersection are currently being installed.  A pedestrian path is also under construction on the north side of Washington Street and will extend from Hunt Club Road toward Greenleaf.  He stated that Mr. Riedel is requesting to pay a fee-in-lieu instead of installing sidewalks along his site’s Washington Street frontage because there would be no connection to his sidewalk (i.e., it would end at his east property line – at Lodesky’s property). The concern is that if a sidewalk is provided along Mr. Riedel’s Washington Street frontage, pedestrians may be tempted to cross from the north side before reaching the cross-walk at the Cemetery Road/Washington Street intersection.

 

Mr. Christensen stated that architectural and development standards have been submitted. He stated all the buildings on the site will have to follow the same style within the development standards which include a list of building materials, masonry wood and ratios. He stated it will be a unified design throughout the site in materials, style of building, architecture, conforming lighting and overall landscape plan.  All four sides of buildings will be treated in a similar manner.

 

Mr. Christensen stated they are requesting the northern portion of the unincorporated parcel to be zoned C/B-2, as well as the existing C/B-2 zoned parcel.  The southern portion of the unincorporated parcel is requested to be zoned C/O-1.  The entire development will be a Planned Unit Development.  He stated they have put together a Use List that is particular to this site and to the neighborhood uses and conveniences. He stated in addition, there will be an Annexation Agreement that has been discussed and worked through with Staff. He noted once at the Village Board level many of these will be included in the PUD Agreement and made part of the record.

 

He stated the out lot will be unified along with unified maintenance for the entire site from both the parking lots and landscaping standpoints. He stated they feel this project should be recommended for a number of reasons as part of the site is currently zoned Commercial, Washington Street is a major improved arterial, Cemetery Road being considered an arterial or a collector, and the Village’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan reflects commercial zoning for the site. He stated they believe this a good location for convenience services for the adjoining neighborhoods along with the traffic traveling on Washington Street. He stated the site will provide goods and services closer to the surrounding areas with people not having to travel as far for goods and services. It will increase the real estate tax base and provide some sales tax to the Village of Gurnee while offering some employment opportunities to the residents of Gurnee.   

 

Mr. Christensen added there has been a lot of talk of users in line or potential buyers but noted until there is some entitlement with the land being annexed and until the land is zoned the talks at this point are not that serious. He stated with the economy rebounding a bit, their hopes are to market the site making it an asset to the community.

 

Mr. Riedel stated they did a number of traffic studies and with the project layout/access, traffic flows well.  Now that the Washington Street improvements are being completed, traffic into and out of the site should work well, as confirmed by the traffic study.  He stated they kept the buildings out by the road as much as they could to keep the activity away from the residential to the south. He stated they would buffer in the back and noted this area would be for an office building. As for the building in the middle of the site, he stated that it would likely be mixed use--office and small retail with no drive-through, at least at this point.  He noted that they may potentially have to come back for a Special Use Permit if a drive-through was interested in that location.   He stated the buildings are distant from the residential with future use of office and they are proposing to buffer this site properly.

 

Chairman Sula asked for the sake of documentation that any areas that are contrary to the Comprehensive Plan be highlighted.  He then asked if everything is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Ms. Velkover responded the Comprehensive Plan indicates Commercial for the entire Use. She stated there is an office service classification for the south 160 feet. She stated office is included in the Commercial category.

 

Chairman Sula stated then everything that has been requested is within the overall guidelines of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Ms. Velkover responded yes, that is correct.

 

Chairman Sula asked for questions and comments from the Commission.

 

Mr. Nordentoft stated he likes the concept and particularly the architecture along with the overall comprehensiveness of the development. He stated he doesn’t like piecemeal commercial development and appreciates seeing a commercial development constructed under this type of format. In anticipation of some of the questions that might be raised from the residents this evening he asked for more information about the buffering along the south property line where there are adjacent residents, specifically relating to elevation, fencing, berming, and landscaping. He asked how the lighting plan would be handled specifically for Buildings # 5 and #6, which are the closest to the residential area. He stated prior concerns were the intensity of the development if it became heavily restaurant oriented, not only from the volume of people and cars but also the odors that come from restaurant Uses. He asked how the departures from that plan vary with this proposed plan.

 

Mr. Christensen stated that buffering would be provided along lots 120 – 122 in Southridge.  He noted that the previous proposal included an 8 foot fence and all brand new landscaping. He stated that no fencing is proposed adjacent to these three lots, but that Mr. Riedel has been planting additional material in this buffer yard over the past six years.  He noted that the material located in this area is reflected on a plan that was submitted.  In addition, Mr. Riedel is proposing to supplement it with additional trees.

 

Chairman Sula stated he is getting very uncomfortable every time the prior proposal is referenced. He stated the prior proposal does not exist as far tonight’s hearing is concerned and what needs to be discussed is what will be done within the new proposal presented at this hearing. He stated the prior proposal is irrelevant history.

 

Mr. Christensen stated that along the west side of the proposed office parcel is an existing 8-foot stockade fence, which will be repaired and left in place. He stated that a considerable hedgerow is located south of the proposed office parcel, as well as east of the subject property, and that this hedgerow will remain.

 

Chairman Sula stated the hedgerow is really a tree row and asked whose property the trees are located on.

 

Mr. Christensen responded that the trees are probably located on a combination of both properties. He stated many of them are volunteers. He stated the majority would be on the Lodesky property.

 

Chairman Sula stated the Commission needs to deal with what this development is going to do to protect the surrounding areas. He stated trees that are on adjoining properties really do not count for a commercial development’s buffer requirement.

 

Mr. Riedel stated much of the trees hang over onto his property and much of the root systems are on the Lodesky property with some being on his property. He stated the location of the trees varies with some on Lodesky’s property and some on his.  He stated the species are Box Elder trees ranging from 10 – 20 feet in height. He stated technically what hangs over onto his side of the property would be his and what is on the other side would be the adjacent property owner’s. He stated he sees no reason to remove any of this as it provides containment for the property and provides buffering whether it is on his property or the adjacent property.

 

Chairman Sula stated if the Village Arborist were present he would state that Box Elder is not a high quality tree. To the extent that the basic trunk of the tree is not on the petitioner’s property, the Commission cannot count this as buffering the surrounding area. He stated the Commission needs to have a good understanding of what will be done protect the line of sight between the petitioner’s property and the residents to the south.

 

Mr. Riedel responded not a lot of protection was offered other than what is existing and what staggers back and forth. He stated he didn’t know if anyone would recommend that the current tree line be torn down. He stated there is limited space to put additional trees within a few feet of the existing trees. He stated if there are ten (10) on the adjacent property and ten (10) on his side of the property it staggers with the drip lines of the trees. He stated this could be buffered but a person would have to go back and forth with it.

 

Mr. Christensen stated the east side and much of the south property line is all up against the Lodesky farm. The detention pond and office building is between the parking lot and the south property line.  As for the west property line of the office parcel, there is an existing tree line on the residential properties and Mr. Riedel is proposing to repair the existing 8-foot tall stockade fence.  To buffer the remainder of the site, where the parking/drive-aisle is within 20 feet of the residential property, Mr. Riedel has already planted a number of plant materials over the past 6 years, including evergreens, and he is proposing to install more material per the plan provided to the Commission. 

Chairman Sula stated his concern is mostly about the south.

 

Mr. Riedel stated they have existing material in the buffer area between the lots which was planted years ago along with raising the elevation as proposed. He stated there is currently mature vegetation in this area and within the last year 10-12 foot evergreens were planted.  He is also proposing additional material be installed in this area. He stated the entire buffer yard was not yet planted as there is sewer, drainage and an electrical box which they still need to get through. He stated they put as much in as they felt made sense, so it could mature. He stated there is an additional 10 – 15 trees that they have proposed to add, but they have not added these trees yet. He stated the grade is somewhat tapered as well as to buffer the parking lot.

 

Mr. Riedel stated that the size of a restaurant or restaurants would be dictated by the amount of parking that would adequately serve the restaurant(s). He stated they have no specific users at this point and noted each of the buildings would have to be re-submitted to the Village prior to building for Final PUD Plat approval. He stated the Village would have the opportunity to review each of these as they are submitted.

 

Mr. Nordentoft asked about the Lighting Plan for Buildings # 5 and # 6 and, in particular, for the sides that face the residential area.

 

Mr. Christensen responded that, at the request of Staff, the height of the lighting will be reduced on these two back buildings. He stated the light levels both internal to the site and at all property lines will conform to the Village Lighting Ordinance which restricts the lighting at residential property lines to ½ foot-candle.

 

Mr. Nordentoft stated as he understands that the parking lot lighting in these areas will be lowered to 15 feet as well as on the buildings themselves.  He asked if this was correct.

 

Mr. Christensen responded that is correct. He stated the parking lot lighting will be a shoebox style where the lighting standard will not be visible as it will be directed down to the parking lot itself.

 

Mr. Drennan stated he most concerned about the setbacks. He asked for an explanation of why they would be going from 50 feet to 30 feet upfront, and most importantly the ones closer to the residential where the petitioner is looking for a departure.

 

Mr. Christensen stated (in response to the Washington Street building setback question) that the County recently took 20 feet of right-of-way from this property for the Washington Street improvements.  Thus, the plan originally provided for the 50-foot setback but is now seeking a departure due to the ROW taking.  He stated they believe that thirty (30) feet is the usual standard for commercial property and the reason for the fifty (50) foot requirement is due to the R-1 zoned property across the street having a fifty (50) foot requirement.  He stated they are doing a considerable amount of landscaping along Washington Street.  He stated they feel if there were any other Commercial area in town it would be (30) thirty feet. In regard to the twenty (20) foot setback to the south for the drive aisle, versus the required thirty (30) foot setback, appropriate buffering will be provided to screen the area from the residential.  He stated in this case there would not be parking in this area, and it would be just the drive. He noted another area on the plan where there would be parking in the rear section and stated due to the constraints of the site this was one of the requests with the PUD. He stated the internal setback departures, when looking at the subdivision plat, result from the fact that the buildings basically form the lots (i.e., the lot lines are directly around the buildings).  This is not a typical lot and thus the need for setback departures.

 

Mr. Drennan asked if the setback to the residential would be five (5) feet.

 

Mr. Christensen responded the driveway curb is twenty (20) feet off the residential property line to the south.

 

Ms. Velkover stated the five (5) foot parking setback is to the east property line which is the Lodesky property, which is zoned residentially but used as farm.  The Comprehensive Land Plan reflects this property for office/service use.   She stated that staff is less concerned about trying to establish a buffer along the east property line versus the south property line because of the future office/service use to the east.  While the existing residential to the south, as well as the potential for additional residential to the south, heighten the concern for buffering in this area.   Mr. Velkover also stated that the drive aisle’s twenty (20) foot setback aligns with the drive aisle located across the street.

 

Mr. Christensen stated that the plans reflect an easement for cross access along the east drive aisle, per staff’s request.  The entire east drive aisle is indicated as a possible location for this cross access so that the exact location can be determined when/if the property to the east develops.  

 

Chairman Sula asked for clarification that the Lodesky property is County R1 zoned.

 

Ms. Velkover stated that this is correct.

 

Mr. Drennan asked if the traffic study included the safety of people from the property on the west, exiting and coming out on Cemetery and turning left to get onto Washington crossing over two lanes. He asked with the increase of traffic from that property if this was a concern from a traffic safety standpoint.

 

Mr. Christensen responded this was one of the reasons they are doing the full access driveways across from each other. He stated people have the ability to see each other and where the turning actions will be. He stated the request from the Village traffic consultant was to have the new center lane re-stripped with arrows in both directions for people to realize others will be making turning movements as well.

 

Mr. Drennan stated he wanted to ensure the traffic study contemplated and looked at this because of the increased traffic coming through.

 

Mr. Christensen stated he believed the traffic study did do this.

 

Ms. Velkover stated the traffic study did take in to account all the traffic on the roads from the various existing developments, as well as the added traffic from the proposed development.

 

Chairman Sula stated technically Cemetery Road is an arterial and is envisioned to handle traffic of the magnitude reflected in the traffic study.

 

Mr. Drennan asked about if the hours of operation were to1:00 a.m. and asked if was determined which restaurants would be open that late.

 

Mr. Christensen responded that the 1:00 a.m. was for Friday and Saturday nights with the other nights being 12:00 a.m. (midnight). He stated this was not proposed for any specific use in mind but instead for flexibility.

 

Chairman Sula opened the floor to the Public for questions or comments.

 

Mr. Mark Dybas, 6126 Honeysuckle Lane, stated he lives is on the street immediately west of Cemetery Road. He noted that the developer indicated that he had planted a substantial amount of material in the past 6 years along the south property line, to increase the buffering between the proposed development and the residential to the south. He stated he personally is not aware of any plantings, except for the past few months where there have been a few plants added. He stated the last time this came forward the developer was willing to install a 3-foot high berm at the south end of the property between the property and the residents. He stated now he is hearing that a berm will not be added and what is there today is what will be offered. He stated this is not enough for the neighbors that live there.  He noted that the developer is asking for significant departures in terms of normal setback requirements based on the fact that there isn’t much room to put in any more of a buffer. He asked the Commission to think about if this is because of the amount of development proposed for the site. He asked if it was really fair for the developer to not put in an appropriate buffer because of a desire to have more developable area.  He stated he didn’t think there were many places in the Village where a C/B-2 development of this size immediately abuts residential properties such as this. He stated a few years ago he was told there were no other instances of this anywhere within the Village. He asked if this was true and if so, perhaps the Village should look at a slightly higher standard rather than give departures to standards the Village currently has in place. He asked the Commission to honestly look at this. He stated none of his neighbors have ever stated they are opposed to this area being developed. Everyone bought knowing the area would be developed and they expected it to be developed. He stated a lot of the concern is due to the expansion of the commercial area by the annexation of the parcel to the east (increasing by more than 50%).  He also noted that the C/B-2 district allows for an extensive list of Permitted Uses which are uses permitted by right. He stated some may not be the most appropriate to be located next to a residential neighborhood. He stated the developer continues to say that they want to be neighborhood friendly as well as neighborhood uses.  He stated perhaps the developer would consider limiting some of the uses. He stated as far as the hours of operation, 12:00 midnight to 1:00 a.m. right next to a subdivision where a setback departure is being requested might not be the standard the Village wants to put into place with the annexation. He stated they are asking for an annexation request with less than 50% of the site being in the Village with C/B-2 zoning.  With the annexation request the Village does have some ability to say “here is the standard we want”. Developing right in next to single family homes with less of a setback that what is normally required and no commitment to provide any buffer other than what exists today isn’t the best route. He asked the Commission to consider this.

 

Ms. Diane Goralczyk, 6068 Morning Side Court (Lot 120), stated no additional material was planted along the south property line until last fall. She stated only recently did Mr. Riedel plant beautiful evergreens staggered along the lot-line. Everything else that is there has grown wild. She stated it was cut and trimmed for the first time this past fall. She stated she would like to have addressed the reduction in building setback from 50 feet to 30 feet; and questioned what roofline will be increased to 40 feet high from 30 feet high.  She noted that if the site will contain restaurants that she hoped that 12:00 midnight would be the longest that they would be allowed to remain open since they are in close proximity to residential.  She indicated that the traffic from the Montessori in the morning hours and at rush hour, as well as the school bus traffic is unbelievable at the front entrance to the Montessori.  She appreciates the 2nd exit/entrance from the property, as well as the cross connection provided on the east side of the property. She stated she wishes a berm was considered. She stated the berm that is currently there is almost nothing and it is almost level as it has been mostly washed away. She also noted that the fence along the west property line of the office parcel is over 20 years old as it was there prior to her moving in 20 years ago.  She indicated that some sections of this fence continue to be blown down. She stated she doesn’t believe it would be fair to just leave the current fencing up because it will be down in a matter of time. She appreciates the Board taking the time to hear the public and to please consider these concerns.

 

Mr. Allen Myren, 196 Southridge Drive (corner of Cemetery Road and Southridge Drive), stated he concurs with Ms. Goralczyk and questioned the traffic study. He stated the Montessori traffic and the bus traffic is considerable.  In regards to re-stripping the center lane, it is currently confusing and he believes it will be more so if restaurants develop on the site.  He is concerned about a traffic jam with parents bringing their children to the Montessori.

 

Mr. Joe Sobota, 6216 Sleepy Hollow Lane, asked if anything will happen to the Southridge fencing, gazebo, and signage on the east side of Cemetery Road that is part of the Homeowners Association entry feature. He stated the buffering between the houses and the lot needs to be a combination of a berm, fencing on top of the berm, and landscape material.  He asked the Commission to take a close look at the traffic study because without widening Cemetery Road to provide for a separate left turn, straight, and right turn lane on the north approach to Washington Street, he believes there will be traffic problems based on the size of the parking lot and the possible uses on this property.

 

Chairman Sula stated the first person from the public who spoke mentioned the original proposal and as indicated previously this evening during the testimony from the petitioner, the first proposal does not exist. Anything that is being dealt with this evening is strictly what is before the Commission this evening. He stated if there is something that the public was counting on from the original proposal and not in the current proposal this needs to be discussed now. He stated what is being dealt with is what is on the table today.

 

Chairman Sula asked the public if there are any more questions strictly based on what the petitioner has presented this evening.

 

Mr. Dybas asked the Commission to consider having the petitioner put in some sort of berming between the commercial property and the neighbors to the south. He stated that he believes the Village typically asks for berming to be put in with a development such as this and hopes the Village will maintain this practice. He realizes this is a new project but said this was something the Village wanted for this site in the past. He stated he hopes the Village will have the same standard this evening.

 

Chairman Sula closed the floor to the Public.

 

Ms. Velkover asked Mr. Christensen to address the departures to the building height; where a height of thirty-five (35), thirty-six (36), and forty (40) feet is requested for building towers.  She stated the underlying Ordinance allows a height of thirty-five (35) feet.

 

Mr. Christensen responded there are three locations that they have requested to exceed the building height. He stated that they are all for buildings that are up along Washington Street.  He noted that there are a couple of towers on two buildings in front and across from each other and a tower on Building # 1. He stated the request is just for the buildings along Washington Street; noting it is an architectural feature.

 

Chairman Sula asked if these are architectural elements and not inhabitable space.

 

Mr. Christensen responded exactly.

 

Chairman Sula asked if the fire department has any problem with this.

 

Ms. Velkover responded no.

 

Ms. Velkover asked Mr. Christensen to address the issue with the Southridge gazebo, fencing, and signage.

 

Mr. Christensen responded that the plat, landscape plan and other drawings indicate that there is an easement for the Homeonwers Association of Southridge to utilize the spot with the gazebo, fencing and landscaping. He stated there is currently an Agreement that was signed a number of years ago. He stated Mr. Riedel has indicated that he will approach the Southridge Homeowners Association to update the Agreement as well as get some Agreements for the maintenance of these improvements.  He stated these will be allowed and to remain as part of the corner.

 

Ms. Velkover asked Mr. Christensen to address the berming to the south, as well as the additional plant materials that are being proposed for the south buffer yard between the proposed development and Southridge lots 120, 121, and 122 (i.e., the additional approximate 16 trees that are proposed to be planted in the south buffer yard).

 

Chairman Sula asked the petitioner to address the condition of the fence, the berming, and what additional screening is being proposed to the residential.

 

Mr. Riedel responded that currently there is a berm that is not much more than 2 or 3 feet high, as well as vegetation that has grown wild and that they have trimmed and supplemented to create a buffer. There is no fencing, existing or proposed, along the south property line adjacent to lots 120, 121, and 122.  There is an 8-foot high stockade fence along the west property line of the parcel proposed for office zoning.  He stated that 50% of the fence has been up and down and it is their intention to replace the fence as needed or install all new fencing.  As for the berming between the commercial site and lots 120, 121 and 122 in Southrdige, it is already on the site.  The commercial parcel needs to be graded down, but the berming is there with plant material.   He stated that in the last year or so he planted large evergreens on top of the berm and there were additional plantings added that people may not have been aware of. He noted that he is proposing additional plantings in this area, per the plans provided to the Commission.  This material has not being installed yet because of engineering issues that need to be addressed before the plant material is installed.  He noted that with a slope of 3:1 the berm cannot go much more than 3 feet in a 20 foot wide area.

 

He stated they will add additional bushes and trees as proposed to buffer this area. He noted the 8-foot stockade fence is in need of repair and that they have done some of the repairs but have not finished. He stated they did not complete some of this work because they were not sure it would be accepted. He stated they are proposing to repair the existing fence and plant additional materials. He stated this is proposed as a neighborhood commercial development and they are proposing to add the parcel in the County to it to provide for uses that can service the neighborhood (i.e., cleaners) and those traveling down Washington Street.  He wants an upper scale development and is proposing exceptional architecture and other high end finishes in order to attract quality businesses. He stated some of the buildings will probably be mixed uses with retail and office uses.  He noted they have had some doctors from different areas that wanted them to build these buildings and own them individual. He stated this is how they put this concept together. He stated he understands the traffic concern coming out of the Montessori school, but both his traffic consultant and the Village’s traffic consultant have rendered opinions that traffic from this development can be handled with the existing roadway improvements and that the northern cut onto Cemetery Road should be a right-in/right-out with the middle lane on Cemetery stripped for both turn movements.  He stated that traffic should not be a problem at the Washington/Cemetery intersection.

 

Ms. Velkover said that a traffic study completed and that study was reviewed by the Village traffic consultant. According to the Village traffic consultant, the adjacent road systems should be able to accommodate not only existing traffic but the traffic generated by this development. She stated originally the northern cut on Cemetery Road was proposed to be a full-access and that was scaled back to a right in/right out, per the traffic study. She mentioned a statement was made that the Village does not have any commercial, C/B-2 zoning, which abuts to residential. She stated there are a number of commercial developments that abut directly to single family residential. She noted some of the developments, which include: Northridge Plaza, Grand Mill Plaza, Bobby’s Driving Range which backs up to Southridge, Almond Plaza which backs up to Concord Oaks, and Lowes which backs up to Elysian Fields. She stated this is something the Village does allow and that buffering is a requirement. She stated the size of this development is a lot smaller than Lowes and some of the other developments that back to single-family residential.  She stated commitments have been in this PUD in response to trying to make it a neighborhood commercial development and not a regional commercial development.  Some of these commitments include capping an individual building size to 10,000 sq. ft. so that a single big-box use cannot build on the site by right (a SUP would be required to allow larger than a 10,000 sq. ft. building) and restricting the use list.  In terms of the building setback departure to Washington Street, it affects the two easternmost buildings that are closest to Washington Street. She stated this has to do with the fact that directly across the street, on the north side of Washington Street, is R1 zoning and the development is required to meet the front yard setback requirement of the R1 district, even though there are 5 lanes of Washington Street in-between.  Ms. Velkover stated that the long term viability of those lots along Washington Street as residential has yet to be determined.  She stated it does not affect any of the other buildings within the development and does not affect the two western buildings that are across from Marsh Funeral Home because the Marsh Funeral Home is zoned commercially.

 

Chairman Sula stated we are talking about something that is facing a five lane highway.

 

Ms. Velkover responded correct.

 

Ms. Velkover stated the petitioner is meeting the Village Lighting Ordinance which was revised a number of years ago to be very restrictive. She stated the ordinance not only provides for maximum internal foot-candle levels, but maximum horizontal and vertical foot-candle levels at the property lines. She stated those levels are lower when adjacent to residential.  She also noted that the petitioner has committed to shorter light poles closer to the south property line.  The lighting ordinance also has a requirement for a 75 degree cut-off angle to prevent glare.  This means that no light source over 100 watts can be visible to the naked eye; all lighting over 100 watts must be designed so that the light source is recessed into the housing unit.

 

Chairman Sula asked if the traffic study included Montessori.

 

Ms. Velkover responded the traffic study does not identify specific businesses. However, the study does look at the existing traffic on the roadways and therefore, has the Montessori School traffic factored in.

 

Chairman Sula asked if buses go into the Montessori driveway of if they stop on Cemetery Road.

 

Ms. Velkover responded that there is a school bus stop, not for the Montessori School, to the south of this site.

 

Mr. Christensen stated the Montessori school does not have school buses.

 

Chairman Sula stated he thought one of the residents was expressing concern that school buses from Montessori were causing a traffic problem.

 

Ms. Goralczyk responded that the concern is the traffic coming into the Montessori dropping children off and then leaving, which is during rush hour and at the same time school buses are coming in and out of the subdivision.

 

Mr. Winter stated it looks as though the traffic study evaluated traffic at the following peak times; 7:15AM to 8:15AM on and 4:45PM to 5:45PM on weekdays.

 

Mr. Nordentoft referred to a comment made about the C/B-2 use list. He stated that someone made comment that they were hoping for a restrictive use list from the C/B-2 and he wanted, for the record, to have what the developer is proposing for the use list as part of the PUD.  He stated he believed the use list is being modified.

 

Ms. Velkover stated the C/B-2 use list is being modified.  She noted that the petitioner is removing a lot of the automobile related uses that are within the C/B-2 that are either permitted uses or special uses.  These uses include driving schools; service stations, automobile accessory store, auto sales and service, camper sales and service, boat sales and service, truck sales, ambulance service garages, automobile diagnostic centers & clinics, car washes, parking lots, tire/battery accessory dealers, automobile rental, and automobile repair garages.  Some antiquated uses, such as bait shops, are also being eliminated.  In addition the following uses are being eliminated: body piercing, tattoo parlors, agricultural uses (i.e., agricultural implement sales and service and farm supply stores), outdoor clubs, community centers, fairgrounds, golf driving ranges, tennis clubs, skating rinks, bowling alleys, dance clubs, lodges, fraternal organizations, theatres, construction related uses (i.e., building materials sales and service, furniture supplies and service, greenhouses, garden supply stores, home supply centers, lumber yards, nurseries, and equipment rental and leasing), animal hospitals, vet clinics, hotels, motels, lawn mower sales/service, and department stores.

 

Chairman Sula stated what is being requested is general low intensity retail that is less than 10,000 square feet in footprint, restaurants, and office buildings.

 

Ms. Velkover responded office, service, retail and restaurants.

 

Chairman Sula asked if there would be any drive-ups.

 

Ms. Velkover responded a drive-through would require a Special Use Permit.

 

Chairman Sula asked if that would require a subsequent public hearing.

 

Ms. Velkover responded yes, that is correct.

 

Chairman Sula stated we are speaking of low intensity retail, restaurant, and offices.

 

Ms. Velkover responded yes. She also noted that the use list for the proposed C/O-1 district has been modified to remove all uses that are typically special uses in this district.  She noted that the C/O-1 district typically provides a short list of retail and service that are allowed as special uses.  These include restaurants, optician sales, pharmacies, hair salons, and day care centers.  She noted that the developer has removed these uses from the use list for the office district, so that the only uses permitted in the southern most building are office uses.

 

Chairman Sula asked for any other questions from the members of the Commission.

 

Mr. Nordentoft stated one of the things that he is wondering about, on behalf of the residents, is the one section with an existing stockade fence. He asked if it would be appropriate to fence the entire section that is abutting the residential. He stated not everyone likes to look at fences and some prefer significant landscaped to provide a natural buffer.  He doesn’t know if he wants to step out and require that they put up an 8-foot fence in this area. He stated he would be more comfortable not requiring a fence if he could get some assurance that when it is all done that the landscaping provided is more than adequate to accomplish the screening.

 

Chairman Sula stated he is torn on this as well. He stated he heard that the fence is inconsistent at best and if the fence needs to be replaced, the entire fence should be replaced. He stated however, he would rather have a natural screen than a fence.

 

Ms. Salmons stated she would like to have the fence with the landscaping behind it to screen the fence. She stated she agrees that a fence is needed there.

 

Chairman Sula stated one school of thought is that the fence could be temporary and once the landscaping matures and the fence has had its useful life it could be removed so that there is a natural buffer. He stated he doesn’t know what the correct answer is.

 

Mr. Nordentoft replied he doesn’t either. He stated in looking at the total available space to make this all happen, there clearly does not seem to be enough width to create a high enough berm to accomplish what they would like to accomplish. He stated they could maintain the 3 foot berm that is currently there.

 

Chairman Sula stated he normally doesn’t do this but he will open the floor to the Public one more time noting a member of the audience has property immediately adjacent to this site. He asked that person if they would rather have a fence or natural screening. He stated he doesn’t think it is practical to do both.

 

Ms. Goralczyk responded that she doesn’t know what to say and she would appreciate anything to cover up looking at a parking lot, traffic, people and restaurants. She stated she loves the evergreens the petitioner has installed. She stated it would be great if more evergreens could be installed in the areas where they are not. She noted that fencing would keep people from the restaurants, who may have had too much to drink, from her property.

 

Chairman Sula stated for her to keep in mind the building that would be closest is office.

 

Ms. Goralczyk responded no, it is not.

 

Chairman Sula stated yes it is.

 

Mr. Christensen stated Buildings 1-5 could possibly have a restaurant.

 

Ms. Goralczyk stated when she came to the Village Hall yesterday and looked at the plan it reflected the one closest to Washington and Cemetery which is Building # 1, noting it was restaurant/retail. She asked if they all are marked restaurant/retail.

 

Mr. Christensen responded that all of the buildings, with the exception of Building # 6, have the potential for a restaurant.  However, he noted that parking for the site would dictate the number and size of restaurants.

 

Ms. Goralczyk stated she would want a fence and some evergreens.

 

Ms. Velkover stated that the developer’s plans reflect the addition of 7 8-foot tall rosebuds, which are ornamental trees, and 9 evergreen trees to the south buffer.

 

Chairman Sula stated that the Commission could restrict the building in the middle from being occupied by a restaurant.

 

Mr. Riedel added there certainly won’t be 5 restaurants. He stated most likely there will be 1 restaurant and again it is all dictated by the amount parking they have on the site. He stated these are all individually platted lots and their use will determine how much parking is needed. He stated they will not have 5 restaurants. He stated to address the screening concern he could add some intermittent fence sections with some vegetation that is being added on both sides to break up the views of the fencing. He stated it would need to be segregated a little bit from the fence on the berm. He stated if that makes any difference to the Commission he would be happy to do that. He stated he didn’t know if they would want an 8-foot stockade fence boxing in the yards, but can understand adding some fencing intermittently in this area.  

 

Mr. Christensen stated he is sure Mr. Riedel can work with Staff on the fencing style and get something more interesting than a straight wall fence.

 

Chairman Sula closed the floor to the Public.

 

Chairman Sula asked for a motion from the Commission for the rezoning.

 

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons, to forward a favorable recommendation for the rezoning of approximately 4.4 acres from the R1, Residential District in unincorporated Lake County, to the C/B-2 PUD Community Business District as a Planned Unit Development in the Village of Gurnee, except for the south 160 feet which is requested to be zoned C/O-1 PUD, Restricted Office District as a Planned Unit Development, seeing that it meets the Standards for the Zoning Map Amendment.

 

Roll Call

Ayes:                Sula, Nordentoft, Salmons, Drennan

Nays:                None

Abstain:            None

Motion Carried:  4-0-0

 

Chairman Sula asked for a motion from the Commission for the PUD.

 

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons,  to forward a favorable recommendation for a Preliminary Planned Unit Development for a 6.7-acre site to allow for the development of approximately a 46,000 sq. ft. commercial center with the departures and commitments made in the record and verbally at the meeting this evening and specifically the departure as addressed regarding the buffering along the south perimeter as it relates to the portion that abuts the adjacent residential subdivision whereas the petitioner has agreed to provide additional plantings and fencing with the preference of a board-on-board style fence which is agreed upon between the petitioner and Staff to properly screen the area between the residential and the commercial development.

 

Chairman Sula asked for any comments on the motion.

 

Mr. Drennan stated what concerned him, as brought up earlier this evening, is the parking setback departure requested to the residential to the south.  He stated he is okay with Washington Street going to thirty (30) feet from fifty (50) feet but he would like for no departure to the setback to the residential to the south.

Ms. Velkover commented that this setback was predicated on how the commercial center across the street (at the southwest corner of Cemetery and Washington Street) was developed. That center’s south access drive is setback 20 feet from the residential property to the south (Honeysuckle Court).  The access into the site before the Commission this aligns with the drive on the west side of Cemetery.  She stated that, from a traffic perspective, efforts are made to align drives because drives that are slightly offset create conflicting traffic movements, which results in an unsafe situation. 

 

Chairman Sula stated it is consistent with what is across the street and it keeps the traffic alignment.  He asked if Mr. Drennan was okay with this.

 

Mr. Drennan responded he was okay with this.

 

Roll Call

Ayes:                Sula, Nordentoft, Salmons, Drennan

Nays:                None

Abstain:            None

Motion Carried:  4-0-0

 

Chairman Sula asked for a motion to adjourn.

 

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons, to adjourn.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:55P.M.

Respectfully Submitted: 


Joanne Havenhill
Plan Commission Secretary