Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Plan Commission - September 7, 2011

Village of Gurnee
Plan Commission Minutes
September 7, 2011

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

Plan Commission Members Present: Chairman James Sula, David Nordentoft, Richard McFarlane,
Gwen Broughton, Patrick Drennan 

Plan Commission Members Absent: Sharon Salmons

Other Officials Present: Doug Stiles, Village Attorney; Tracy Velkover, Planning Manager; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner

1.  Approval of Plan Commission Meeting Minutes for August 17, 2011.
Mr. McFarlane made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to approve the Plan Commission Meeting Minutes for August 17, 2011.

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

2.  Minor Sign Exception: Matrix Management (760 Lakeside Drive)
Mr. Mentkowski stated the petitioner, Matrix Management, is seeking a minor exception to allow lettering on a sign to be below the required 8” height.  He noted that they are looking to take a portion of an existing ground sign at their new facility located at 760 Lakeside Drive and are constrained by the dimensions of the sign and the other text on the sign. The property is zoned I-2, Industrial, with a Special Use Permit for an office and Industrial Park (OIP).

Karen Kramer, property manager with Globe Property Management and representing Matrix Management, stated that Matrix is seeking to place their business name on an existing sign at 760 Lakeside Drive.  The dimensions of the sign, the length of the business name, and the location of existing text on the sign all make it impossible to meet the 8” letter height requirement.  They have removed the logo that was originally proposed for the sign in order to maximize the letter height.  With this modification the letter height on the sign is 4”. 

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

Mr. Nordentoft stated that Matrix Management has tried to make the letter height as conforming as possible and that the constraints of the existing sign have made that impossible.  He believes that the sign, as proposed, is consistent with the stated purpose of the sign regulations.

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to approve the Minor Exception request for a sign with 4-inch tall letters as shown on the sign drawing received by the Commission on August 17, 2011.

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

3.  Minor Sign Exception:  Fifth Third Bank (7500 Grand Avenue)
Mr. Mentkowski stated the petitioner, Fifth Third Bank located at 7500 Grand Avenue, is seeking a minor exception to the sign ordinance to allow a decrease in the required 8-inch letter height on sign panel replacements for two existing ground signs; one along Grand Avenue that serves as identification for the bank, as well as other businesses in the building, and a smaller one along Hutchins Road.  The property is zoned C/B-2, Community Business District.

Kimberly Bukovsky, from Kieffer Sign Company and representing Fifth Third Bank, stated that she is working on the rebranding of all Fifth Third Bank signs in the area.  She stated that due to the constraints of the existing sign structures, they are unable to meet the required 8” letter height for the signs along Grand Avenue and Hutchins Road. The Grand Avenue sign is a larger sign that identifies other tenants and for this sign they are able to achieve a 7.3” letter height.  However, the Hutchins Road sign is much smaller and therefore, they are only able to achieve a 3” letter height on this sign. 

Mr. McFarlane stated that the new branding is much better and more legible.  Therefore, he has no concerns with this proposal as it meets the purpose of the sign regulations.  Mr. Nordentoft concurred that the signs with the requested minor exception to letter height, are consistent with the purpose of the sign code.

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Mr. McFarlane, to approve the Minor Exception for Fifth Third Bank at 7500 Grand Avenue, as presented.

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

4.  Public Hearing: Special Use Permit for EPIC Air Trampoline (880 Lakeside Drive)
Mr. Mentkowski stated the petitioner, EPIC Air LLC, is requesting a Special Use Permit to allow an approximate 51,000 square foot indoor trampoline facility within an existing industrial park building which is currently vacant.  The property is located at 880 Lakeside Drive and is zoned I-2 O.I.P., General Industrial District in the Grand Tri-State Business Park.  He noted that this was a new public hearing and this public hearing will eliminate the previous public hearing notice for the same property.  He noted that the traffic consultants review letter for this project is attached in the staff notes and no issues were noted with the number of parking spaces or with the traffic flow onto Lakeside Drive.  He noted that staff has provided potential conditions related to interior signage and striping for pedestrian safety purposes, as well as land banked parking spaces.  He noted that the applicant has addressed the special use standards in the application that is attached to the staff notes.   

Mr. Mike Chamberlain of Highland Park, Illinois introduced himself as part owner of EPIC Air trampoline.  He stated that he is looking to open a trampoline facility at 880 Lakeside Drive in Gurnee.  He explained that there are 4 trampoline facilities in the Chicagoland area; including one in Carol Stream.  These facilities provide paces for kids to get exercise instead of sitting in front of the TV or computer playing video games.  He showed the Plan Commission slides of the inside of several facilities in California to demonstrate the type of business Epic Air is proposing.  Specifically, he pointed out that kids are not jumping on individual trampolines.  Instead, multiple trampolines are put together with areas between that are at the same height of the trampoline that provide connection between the trampolines.  He noted that similar indoor recreational uses were approved within the business park with Ultimate Gymnastics and Batspeed.

Mr. Chamberlain stated the maximum occupancy of the facility is anticipated to be between 175 and 200 people.  He stated that peak business hours are expected to be weeknights after 5 p.m., as well as the weekends.  Children, 7 years of age and under, have a separate jumping area from children over 7.   Patrons are provided a colored wrist band that reflects their age, so the employees can easily see if the proper aged kids are jumping in the appropriate areas.  This would also occur for patrons walking in from the street to book time.  He noted that the facility’s hours of operation are as follows:  Mon – Thurs:  3 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday: 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.; and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.  He noted that there will be events like birthday parties that could be held prior to 3 p.m. and would be up to 50 people.  He stated that the existing building is vacant and consists of 74,000 sq. ft.  He stated they are proposing to utilize approximately 51,000 square feet of the building.  There are 142 parking spaces on site and that an additional 22 spaces can be stripped out near the southeast corner of the site if a parking problem develops.  The owner of the building informed him that he could have access to all 142 parking spaces after 5:00 p.m.

Mr. Nordentoft asked if this is like a club type facility.

Mr. Chamberlain stated that the facility does not have memberships, but that instead patrons pay an hourly fee upon entering the facility and can jump on trampolines in a free bounce area, foam pit, or dodge ball arena.

Mr. Nordentoft stated there may be an age range where the parents will not just drop off their kids and asked how the facility will be able to handle the extra parents in the facility.  He also asked how the number of people in the facility is regulated. 

Mr. Chamberlain stated that parking should not be an issue since most patrons are dropped off and car pool with other kids.  He noted that the industry standard for this type of facility is that 1 car typically carries 8 jumpers.  He stated based on the experience of other facilities, many attendees will be dropped off by parents.  He noted that this is not a spectator sport where family and friends will come to watch events or meets.  He indicated that the facility will be available to rent for birthday parties and that on weekends some of the later hours will be limited to older kids and for those times, they might offer 2 hours of jumping along with a snack (pizza) and drink. 

Mr. Chamberlain stated jump time is purchased in 1 hour increments.  He also noted that the 9-11 pm jump time may allow 2 hour increments and would target middle school and high school aged kids. He stated most patrons are tired after jumping for an hour so that purchasing blocks of more than an hour is unlikely, but possible.  He stated the time that the patron came in is also noted on the wrist band so that employees can tell when a patrons’ time is expired and the facility will keep a running total of the number of patrons in the facility, to ensure that the maximum capacity is not exceeded.  He noted that if someone were to book jump time via the internet, that the available capacity would immediately be updated to reflect the remaining capacity.  He stated that prior to anyone jumping they are required to watch a safety video and after the video is watched, they are provided a wrist band to indicate that they are approved to jump.  He stated the facility will be set up with benches and a concession area in the middle; at the same height as the trampolines, which are typically elevated approximately 3-5 feet off the floor. 

Mr. Drennan asked if there is additional security or security cameras proposed for the facility’s parking lot.

Mr. Chamberlain stated that they could install security cameras in the parking lot and could do something similar to what they are proposing for their South Elgin trampoline park that they are working on right now. He stated that they can also implement a similar security policy and hire off-duty police officers for weekend teen nights.

Chairman Sula opened the floor to the public. 

Ms. Christy Berkquist, 34989 N. Cemetery Road, stated that she lives in the house that is directly south of the subject property.  She expressed concern with noise from young kids and now, since hearing the presentation of the petitioner, she is concerned about groups of teenagers congregating on the property late at night with hours of operation until 11:00 p.m. on weekends.  She noted that she works in the law enforcement field and knows the trouble that groups of teens can cause.  She stated that it is not appropriate to place such a facility, since it is in close proximity to residential.  The building on this site sits 25 feet north of her property line.  She also expressed concern about lights, especially with the installation of security cameras in the parking lot.

Mr. Vic Fernandez, representing the owner of Kenall Manufacturing located at 940 Lakeside Drive, stated that they would prefer that the building be leased to a manufacturing use, but that they understand the economy and don’t have any issues with the proposed use.

Chairman Sula closed the floor to the public.

Chairman Sula asked staff to identify the setbacks of the existing building as it relates to the property to the south.  He also asked where patrons would park and enter the facility.

Mr. Mentkowski stated that the setback of the existing building to the south property line would be at least 25 feet because there is a recorded 25 foot landscape buffer easement approved by the subdivision plat.  He also illustrated on a site plan on the Village projector where the land banked parking would be, where the anticipated business entrance would be and some notes about the building façade.  

Mr. Chamberlain stated that patrons would park to the north and east side of the building and that the customer door is located near the north side of the building.  He noted that there is a man door along the east side of the building, but that this door would be limited to use by employees.

Chairman Sula asked if there were any doors on the south wall of the building.

Mr. Mentkowski stated that there are some emergency doors along this wall.

Chairman Sula asked where the security cameras would be installed.

Mr. Chamberlain stated that they are proposing approximately 3 along both the north and east sides of the building.

Chairman Sula asked where the pedestrian signage and crosswalks would be installed.

Mr. Chamberlain illustrated where the potential signage and crosswalks may be installed.

Chairman Sula stated that should additional lighting be installed on the site, the lighting would have to meet code and would not be allowed to shine onto adjacent properties.

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board on the Special Use Permit request of EPIC Air Trampoline, subject to the following conditions:
1. That the indoor trampoline facility shall be limited to a maximum of 51,000 square feet of floor area (gross).
2. That Epic Air employees arriving during the weekday hours park in more remote spaces of the lot to preserve parking near the facility entrance.
3. That at least two (2) "No Parking or Standing" signs are posted along the north side of the building near the main entrance of the facility, with the final location of said signs to be reviewed and approved by the Planning & Zoning Division prior to occupancy of the building.
4. That a yellow pedestrian cross walk and a strategically located stop sign interior to the site be added along the front of the building between the main entrance of the facility and the parking lot, with the final location to be reviewed and approved by the Planning & Zoning Division prior to occupancy of the building.
5. That 22 land banked parking spaces shall be striped in the future if deemed necessary by the Community Development Director in the location generally illustrated on the Site Plan attached hereto.  The final location of these parking spaces shall be reviewed and approved by the Planning & Zoning Division.
6. That at the time land banked parking spaces are striped, one (1) tree (minimum 2.5” caliper) per 10 parking spaces shall be planted on the property.  The locations where the trees are planted, as well as the type of tree planted shall be reviewed and approved by the Planning & Zoning Division. 
7. That security cameras shall be provided on the exterior of the buildings near the entrances to provide additional security, as well as supply private security on the weekend evenings.

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

5. Adjournment
Mr. McFarlane made a motion, seconded by Mr. Nordentoft, to adjourn.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted:


Tracy Velkover
Plan Commission Secretary

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