Village of Gurnee
Plan Commission Minutes
October 6, 2010
The meeting was called to order at 7:46 P.M.
Plan Commission Members Present: Chairman James Sula, Stephen Park, David Nordentoft, Sharon Salmons, Patrick Drennan
Plan Commission Members Absent: Richard McFarlane, Gwenn Broughton
Other Officials Present: Bryan Winter, Village Attorney; Dave Ziegler, Director of Engineering;
Tracy Velkover, Planning Manager; Molly Booth, Associate Planner;
Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner
1.a. Approval of Plan Commission Meeting Minutes for September 15, 2010.
Mr. Park made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons, to approve the Plan Commission Meeting Minutes for
September 15, 2010.
Ayes: Sula, Park, Nordentoft, Salmons, Drennan
Motion Carried: 5-0-0
b. Approval of Joint Plan Commission & Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for September 15, 2010.
Ms. Salmons made a motion, seconded by Mr. Park, to approve the Joint Plan Commission & Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for September 15, 2010.
Ayes: Sula, Park, Nordentoft, Salmons, Drennan
Motion Carried: 5-0-0
2. Public Hearing: Special Use Permit for Theresa’s Home Care LLC
Ms. Booth stated the petitioners, Theresa and Paul Bicok, are requesting a Special Use Permit for an assisted living facility located in the existing 2-story house located at 6455 Cunningham Court. She stated the petitioners are requesting a maximum capacity of (30) thirty clients with a total of (15) fifteen bedrooms. She stated as part of the Special Use the petitioners are looking to install a (10) ten stall parking lot which includes (1) one handicap parking space. She stated they also plan to do some interior remodeling with a slight addition on the second floor. She stated the property is zoned R-1 PUD and is located in the Chelsey Crossing Sub-Division.
Chairman Sula stated as this is a Public Hearing, he asked for anyone from the petitioner or members of the general public who intend to either give testimony or ask questions to stand and be sworn in by the Village Attorney.
Chairman Sula opened the floor to the petitioner.
Mr. John Wojteczko, Attorney representing Theresa’s Home Care LLC, stated individuals present at tonight’s meeting include Mr. Steve Klumpp, architect; Theresa and Paul Bicok, owners of the Assisted Living Facility; Dr. Kenneth Albrecht, the medical director for the facility; and Pam Harrison, the facility’s staff RN.
Mr. Wojteczko stated that a Special Use has been requested for the property because they believe this is a dream setting for assisted care. He stated it is a separate piece of real estate; being well a maintained residential facility for elderly clients who come to them when they want to feel that they are residents and not just patients. The facility treats them with dignity and care. He stated they are asking for up to thirty (30) residents, which would include the build-out of a room on the 2nd floor known, under the previous owner, as the doll house museum. He stated they have parking set forth consisting of nine (9) regular parking spaces and one (1) handicap parking space. The property is substantially isolated from the neighborhood with a significant number of trees to the north and Poplar trees along the south property line that form a green wall. He stated there is vegetation around the property, which is well maintained and manicured, and that the house is setback a substantial distance from the roadway. In the packet of material for the hearing, the applicant has provided the Care Program for the residents. This program identifies the residents’ specific needs, medical plans, dietary care, exercise, and other needs. He stated the home is very light and airy with an atrium on the first floor. He indicated that the facility currently has six (6) bedrooms and are asking permission to for additional nine (9) bedrooms to accommodate (30) thirty residents. Each bedroom would contain two (2) residents. He stated they have not started the build-out of the museum at this time. He stated this facility serves a need as the number of elderly individuals is growing and many are not able to stay with their own families due to their needs. This facility would provide the elderly a place where they feel they are within a home, as opposed to being in a small room without the family room setting. He stated this facility will provide a mixed population and there are a number of rooms where they can be together at all times, if the resident chooses. This facility would not be a burden to the neighborhood as it is located on the corner of two streets, at the entrance to the subdivision and not deep within the subdivision. He stated when people drive in they would not be creating undue traffic or impediments in the area, as they have very few vehicle trips and access is close to the entry into the subdivision. He stated the property itself is somewhat isolated from the rest of the neighborhood and would not have an impact on real estate values because it would be used exactly how it was created, that being residential use. He noted they are not requesting to change that use. He stated, as shown on the aerial view of the property, that the property is located adjacent to two streets and does not impact any of the other properties. The property is not at the same grade/elevation as the neighboring townhomes and the proposed expansion would not increase the height of the structure as it only results in a bump out of a dormer to create additional bedrooms. He stated they plan to continue to maintain the property as a residential facility for the benefit of the residents who are there with them. He stated there would be no other external changes except, if granted, the permission to do the build-out of the doll museum room to create additional bedrooms. He stated there would be no change to ingress or egress and that it would remain the same. He stated in terms of their healthcare, they have RN’s that visit at least twice a week and Dr. Albrecht visits once a week. Residents’ personal physicians may also come and visit their patients. He stated there is an area for persons wanting to visit relatives at the facility, which would be known as the “peoples’ home”. He stated this really is a home environment and the cooking would be done on the premises by Theresa and other members of the staff. He stated Theresa and Paul Bicok are on-site at all times and their staff is made up of two (2) full- time aides; a part-time aide; and Pam Harrison the RN on staff. He stated the residents are provided with three meals a day; snacks; and some entertainment. He stated the residents can be in the atrium which is very airy; a den; verandas which are open in nice weather and a parlor that is being created for residents to visit with family. He stated that this facility removes the belief that the elderly lose their ability to be people because they are just put aside. He stated this is what they are against and they are trying to create a place that provides elderly residents with a home as well as place where they are treated with dignity and respect. He stated this will not have an adverse impact on the neighborhood and it will be a continued residential use, with no expansion of the property, remaining where it is appearing to be a semi-isolated residential estate. He stated the property is what it is as it when it was acquired and remains as such today.
Mr. Wojteczko noted they have agreed to provide residents of Gurnee or relatives of residents of Gurnee first priority/preference when filling vacancies. He stated after providing residents of Gurnee or relatives of residents of Gurnee first priority, residency would be open to others. He stated they do not provide care for Alzheimer’s patients as this type of home has specific requirements that are governed by State Law. He noted that this facility is also not a rehab unit which would be taking care of mentally, physically, or developmentally challenged individuals.
Chairman Sula opened the floor to the Commission.
Mr. Nordentoft asked if the owners live at the property.
Mr. Wojteczko replied the owners live in Gurnee at this time.
Mr. Nordentoft asked if the owners live in the house.
Mr. Wojteczko responded not at this time, but that they plan to move there in the future.
Mr. Nordentoft stated this is being called a residential use and even though people live there, they are not the people who own the home. He stated that this is a business being run out of a residential property.
Mr. Wojteczko responded that the basement of this home is being remodeled into the residence for the owners and that they will be moving into the home when that work is completed.
Mr. Nordentoft asked, at build-out or at some partial build-out, if it is the intent of the owners to live there.
Mr. Wojteczko responded yes it is and that the architect can speak about that as well.
Mr. Steven Klumpp of Ar-K-Teks Unlimited, Ltd, stated that the basement is being provided with an atrium entrance and will be built-out as the owner’s primary residence.
Chairman Sula asked what the timeline is for this.
Mr. Klumpp stated it is part of the same construction project which converts the doll museum into additional bedrooms. He stated these plans include an elevator.
Chairman Sula stated he did not hear an answer to his question and asked again, what is the time line.
Mr. Klumpp responded when construction begins.
Chairman Sula stated a time line means days, weeks, or months, not whenever construction starts.
Ms. Theresa Bicok, owner of Theresa’s Home Care stated she does live at the property; in the basement.
Chairman Sula said that Mr. Wojteczko indicated that you do not live there, yet now you are saying that you do live there. He asked for clarification.
Ms. Bicok stated she does live there and that she sleeps there. She stated she is not there 24 hours but she sleeps there at night. She stated they have another property in Libertyville where her husband lives and stated that in the mornings he comes to this property to work and assist them. She stated the section of the basement where she stays is already done and that there is an office downstairs in the basement. She stated they do plan to extend the section where the elevator would be. She stated upon approval, it would be perhaps a month from that time that construction would start. She stated she does not know how long it will take to complete the construction but that she does have quotes for elevators and for things that need to be done. She stated she does not have a specific start date because she will not/cannot start the work until she knows whether a Special Use Permit will be granted.
Mr. Nordentoft asked, as of today, where is Ms. Bicok’s principal residence. He asked if her principal residence is this house or the house in Libertyville.
Ms. Bicok responded that her principal residence is this house on Cunningham.
Mr. Nordentoft asked if this gets approved and the build-out of the basement happens, will this will continue to be your principal residence.
Ms. Bicok responded yes.
Mr. Nordentoft stated in his opinion this is creating a business and asked what measures are being taken from a landscape point of view. He stated the petitioners are requesting to expand a parking lot on the property that moves in the direction of another existing residence. He asked what things are being done from a fencing, screening, or landscaping standpoint to help mitigate any additional impacts that might be experienced by the resident next door.
Mr. Klumpp stated the large paved area already exists along the east side of the subject site and that this paved area extends onto the single-family property to the east. This situation exists because the two single-family homes share a driveway access. He stated that the plans are to install a separate driveway for the single-family lot to the east and to remove the paved area on the rear of this lot. Therefore, the amount of green space in back of the lot immediately west of the townhome unit will increase substantially. As for the circle drive area on the subject site, it will be cut back along the property line between the single-family homes. Again, pavement will be removed to create a 5-foot pavement setback to the single-family lot to the east. There will be no additional paving added in this area. Instead, there will be approximately 60% less paving because of the removal of the large paved area behind the home to the east. He noted that this home is also owned by the petitioners. He noted that there is quite a bit of landscaping all around this property including a solid wall of tall Poplar trees. He also stated the parking will be on the north side of the solid wall of Poplar trees.
Ms. Salmons stated there is no license to run this facility and asked if this was correct.
Mr. Wojteczko responded they have applied to the State and are well beyond the 6 months review period that the State allows for issuance of a license. He stated the State sent out a nurse last year and have raised no objections. He stated they have provided the State all the information and the State has not responded; not requesting any additional information.
Ms. Salmons asked how long the business has been operating from this location and how long ago was the license applied for.
Mr. Wojteczko responded that Theresa’s LLC was formed after the petitioners were there and a copy of the license application was included in the package provided to the Commission.
Ms. Salmons stated that an unlicensed business is being run from this house.
Mr. Wojteczko responded under State law if there is no response from the State Department of Health within 6 months of application submittal then it is deemed that they have a probationary license.
Mr. Park asked when patients were taken in at this location.
Ms. Bicok responded that they purchased the house in December of 2008 and they moved in at the end of January 2009.
Mr. Park asked when Ms. Bicok first applied for the State license.
Ms. Bicok responded June 2009.
Mr. Park stated the Village advised the Commission that they became aware of this because in May of 2009 there was an emergency vehicle issue at the property due to someone having to come and help at the facility. He asked if Ms. Bicok has continued to operate the business as it existed prior to this, from that time until today.
Ms. Bicok responded yes.
Chairman Sula stated that as distasteful to him as this is, with someone trying to fly under the radar/operate without a license and without knowing any other issues, he requests that the Commission stick to the zoning issues. He stated he agrees that the entire Commission is offended that someone would try to operate a business without going through proper approvals. He stated it has taken a long time to get to the point where this is, as Staff has worked diligently with the petitioners for over a year to get to this point. He stated it would be best to deal with the facts in terms of whether this is an appropriate use or not.
Mr. Park stated the prior approval for this property, as part of the PUD, stated the two single family properties use a common drive. He stated it is his understanding that this operation prefers not to have this but rather that it have two separate drives for the single family properties. He asked the petitioners to explain why.
Ms. Bicok responded that the property to the east of the assisted living facility is a small (1) one bedroom house on less than an acre. She felt it was more appropriate for it to not take access thru the lot to the west; so that this driveway could belong to Theresa’s Home Care.
Mr. Park stated he understands that this would be the preference. He stated his question is that the prior approval that was granted for this property states that it should be combined in a common location. He stated that the petitioners prefer not to do this but he doesn’t know why the petitioners prefer to do this.
Ms. Bicok responded that it would cut the property in half and would not look good. She stated what they are anticipating and hopefully approved for would make the one (1) bedroom house property unique and separate, not combined with the assisted living facility.
Mr. Wojteczko stated the main driveway comes to the front of the house and has been in existence since the beginning. He stated a driveway along the property line would actually enter the rear of the house which is not really desirable.
Chairman Sula stated if he understands the materials properly, the occupant of the second house is deemed to be a critical person to the operation of the facility. He asked why a common access is detrimental.
Ms. Bicok responded they have a young gentleman who rents the one bedroom house who is a paramedic. She noted this person does not work for her. She stated he works with the doctor who comes every once a week to see patients. She stated she does not employ this person.
Chairman Sula stated so this was just a distraction.
Ms. Bicok responded yes.
Mr. Park stated this Plan Commission was a major participant in the approval of the Chelsey Crossings project years ago and one of the objectives was to close the driveway that was almost to Hunt Club Road to get it further away from Hunt Club Road for safety, as there are more than these two properties using Cunningham Court. He stated the concept of it approaching the front of the house and if it was in the location previously identified by the PUD it would first access the customer parking but then still go to the turnaround that is in front of the house. He stated he is not sure that he buys into the petitioners reasoning for this.
Mr. Bicok stated the 2nd driveway should be on the property line and the Village was asked for a permit. He stated the garage door is facing the townhomes and the garage cannot be used. He stated they are asking the Village to give them a permit to have the garage door facing north toward Cunningham Court and this would then be for the 2nd driveway for this residence.
Chairman Sula asked if they want two separate driveways.
Mr. Bicok responded yes it would be the 2nd driveway. He stated they are waiting for the decision on the special use permit for the assisted living facility and then they would change the garage door on the house to the east so that the garage door faces north. A driveway would then be placed off of Cunningham to the new garage door into the house to the east. The driveway for this lot would be along the east side of the lot.
Mr. Winter stated it might be helpful to get some sense of the operation in that they are proposing some (20) twenty residents on the 2nd floor in relatively smaller rooms. He stated he thinks there is an understanding that originally the petitioners may have had (16) sixteen clients and now the proposal asks for almost double that amount. He stated across the street is a more commercial facility that seems to be larger with more square footage and wondered if the petitioners could address those issues for the Commission.
Mr. Wojteczko responded that the bedrooms they are proposing are very similar in nature to what is one the 1st floor.
Chairman Sula asked if they have been constructed yet.
Mr. Wojteczko responded not yet.
Ms. Bicok stated the 2nd floor will have ten (10) bedrooms on the 2nd floor and each bedroom will have two (2) residents totaling twenty (20) residents. She stated the main floor will have five (5) bedrooms with two (2) residents in each and that totals ten (10) residents on the 1st floor for a combined total of thirty (30) residents.
Chairman Sula stated one of the things he is struggling with is exactly what the definition of assisted living is. He stated if he is remembering from the notes properly, there is a comment that says no kitchen appliances, which to him means there is no refrigerator or microwave. He stated within the notes he also saw that the average stay is six (6) months. He stated candidly he is hearing this is more of a modified dormitory than assisted living and he is really struggling with the concept.
Mr. Wojteczko stated there are no appliances (stove or refrigerator) in the individual bedrooms. He noted this is because they have the large common areas on the 1st floor which are open and accessible to all the residents. He stated there is a big kitchen area, den, and atrium. Ms. Bicok responded they checked with the State and assisted living does not have to have a sink and appliances. She stated her architect, Mr. Steve Klumpp, along with the State’s architect in Springfield, advised that it is not mandatory.
Mr. Klumpp stated he met with the State Health Architect in Springfield, who reviews assisted living. He stated he received the guidance on how this facility should be established to meet the needs for their approval and it did not include having appliances within the individual bedrooms.
Chairman Sula stated this must be the first time he has encountered something called assisted living that has double occupancy that is not husband/wife or family member. He stated he doesn’t believe he has encountered such a facility that did not have a microwave or refrigerator. He stated, candidly, he is not sure if the petitioners are operating a hospice or a nursing home which is different than assisted living. He stated he is trying to understand what the business model is.
Dr. Albrecht, Internal Medicine/Home Health Specialist and physician for the facility, stated the situation where there is a common kitchen and utilities within the kitchen area and where none of these devices exist in the resident’s room is quite common within an assisted living facility. He stated most of the facilities he visits do not have these kinds of amenities within the individual rooms.
Chairman Sula stated he has never heard them called assisted living.
Mr. Park asked Staff to define, from the Ordinance, what the distinction is between assisted living and nursing home. He noted, as Chairman Sula has stated, that the Commission has seen independent living where people do their individual things, have cars, etc. versus a nursing home which is more kindled to what he sees within this operation as far as facilities, land use and facility operation.
Ms. Velkover responded that, in the R-1 District, a Special Use is required for Geriatric Centers, Institutions for the Care of the Aged, Nursing Homes, and Convalescent Centers. She stated the definition of a Nursing Home/Rest Home is a home for the care of the aged, chronically ill, care of children, infirmed or incurable persons or a place of rest for those suffering bodily disorders in which three (3) or more persons, not members of the immediate family are residing on the premise and are received and provided with food, shelter, and care but not including hospitals, clinics or similar institutions devoted primarily to the diagnosis and treatment of disease or injury, maternity cases or mental illness. She stated there is not a definition for a Geriatric Center or the Institutions for the Care of the Aged in the Zoning Ordinance. As the Commission is aware, the Zoning Ordinance is very old and does not distinguish between independent living and nursing home, nor provide it a definition for assisted living or supportive living. She stated that the nursing home definition may not necessarily be the best definition, as many different types of elderly care facilities exit today than exited 30 years ago. She stated they contacted the IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) as they are the department that licenses assisted living facilities. She stated she has a handout guide on Assisted Living Facilities for Illinois which indicates that assisted living facilities as most commonly having private rooms, although some may have apartments that can be shared with another person. She stated it mentions that rooms can contain small kitchen appliances and private bathrooms with staff being available 24 hours/day and that group activities are available. She stated basically the guide talks about assisted living as a facility to go to when a person needs assistance with daily living activies which provides housekeeping, meals, medical assistance, and transportation. She stated it does recognize that no two assisted living facilities are the same, as there is great variety in the type of services that these facilities can provide. She stated Staff also checked into whether the State mandates a certain staff to resident ratio. She noted that there are no such requirements.
Mr. Park asked if the definition that Ms. Velkover just read started off by saying it had studios or private rooms.
Ms. Velkover responded saying it states most assisted living facilities have private rooms although some may have apartments that can be shared with another person.
Chairman Sula stated, in the absence of a technical Ordinance definition, that a commercial definition or general marketplace definition of Assisted Living is not what is being described here this evening.
Ms. Velkover responded they are in for licensing by the IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) and that securing a license is one condition that the Village would place on any Special Use. She stated they would have to show they were able to be licensed by the IDPH and if the IDPH does license them, they are recognizing this set-up as assisted living. She stated she cannot speak for the IDPH.
Chairman Sula asked if the license is specifically for assisted living or if it is for elderly care.
Ms. Velkover responded from her understanding the IDPH licenses assisted living and that supported living is licensed through a different department. She stated she is not sure who licenses nursing homes, but it may be the IDPH also.
Chairman Sula stated he is really struggling because the business model that has been described does not sound like it is anything that has been before him in any shape or form as assisted living.
Mr. Park stated to clarify the Staff discussion, and that it did answer his question because the Zoning Ordinance is not the most current and therefore it has a very broad definition of what can be allowed by Special Use in the residential district including a variety of geriatric homes and nursing facilities. He stated therefore whether this is called a nursing home or assisted living it could technically qualify for a request of a Special Use.
Chairman Sula stated he agrees 100%.
Mr. Park then asked if this is an appropriate use in this location in this configuration along with the parking ratios.
Chairman Sula stated further to Mr. Park’s point, if it is an appropriate use, he wants to ensure it is labeled properly so that precedence is set. He stated if this is labeled as assisted living and it doesn’t feel like assisted living that he would feel bad about this.
Mr. Wojteczko stated the State License Application is titled Assisted Living/Shared Housing.
Chairman Sula stated that, to be candid, this complicates it for him.
Ms. Salmons asked what the average age is of the current residents living at the property.
Ms. Bicok responded the average age is approximately 86 years old. She noted that the age varies. She has a resident who is an alert, mobile, 101 year-old who does crossword puzzles and walks with the assistance of a walker, as well as a 67 year old man who, due to a stroke, has right sided paralysis but is verbal and is also able to walk with a walker. She stated assisted living residents cannot be persons that need to transferred. She stated they must be in a wheel chair where they can transfer themselves. She stated residents who need the assistance of persons to transfer them from a wheel chair are those that are in nursing homes. She stated residents who live in an assisted living facility can transfer themselves from a wheel chair and do need as much care as a nursing home resident.
Mr. Klumpp stated the State architect that he met with did provide all the criteria of what would make this property assisted living. He stated they altered the design to meet the requests to be qualified as an assisted living center.
Chairman Sula asked the Commission for any other questions or comments.
Chairman Sula opened the floor to the Public.
Mr. Jeff Leven, 6464 Cunningham Court and President of Chelsey Crossing Homeowner’s Association, stated there are a couple of concerns relative to the facility. He stated the applicant is applying for thirty (30) beds with the occupancy of apparently thirty-one (31) persons, if the owner is going to reside there. He stated the quantity of people seems excessive for the neighborhood, as the neighborhood currently has fifty-two (52) townhomes with the adjacent Lot # 15 as a single family house. He stated with thirty-one (31) people that would equal approximately 200 square feet per person, per bed which does not seem ample for their function. He stated he understands they are setback from Hunt Club Road, but indicated that Lot #15, which is the adjacent property that the petitioner’s own, is almost directly abutting one set of townhomes. He stated that this property is not adequately landscaped from the townhome building. He stated as of a couple of weeks ago landscaping that was planted there by the original developer of Chelsey Crossing was removed by the applicant. He stated part of what they would like to see is more landscaping on both the east and north sides of the property to help shield both the existing single family house and more of the assisted living facility. He stated that the petitioner has not provided any information on whether landscaping will be added to help screen the use. In regard to the driveway that is being proposed for the building on Lot #15, the single family residence, he noted the driveway that is proposed is on the north side of the property and that it is currently at the back of that property. He stated the driveway would be abutting to the existing swimming pool on Lot # 15. It is his understanding, although he hasn’t physically walked the property, that the entrance to the single family residence is actually on the south side of the property where the existing driveway is located. He stated from an aesthetic standpoint for the community, as the PUD was approved about 4 years ago, there was to be only one-driveway. He stated putting in a 2nd driveway defeats the aesthetics of the neighborhood. He noted that the single-family homes and garage look nothing like the townhomes within this sub-division and the intent of the PUD was a cohesive neighborhood. He stated all the driveways in the sub-division are maintained by the sub-division and they are not sure how another new driveway added to this property might be maintained, as well as how well the landscaping at this property would be maintained in the future. He stated it appears they are requesting ten (10) parking spaces which meets the institutional code not a residential code. He mentioned, as stated before, this is a residential use and their cover letter states an institutional use versus a residential use. He questioned what if more people want to park at this facility than the parking lot can accommodate. He stated if that happens people will park on Cunningham Court and that there is not a lot of parking on Cunningham Court. He stated last week the Chelsey Crossing subdivision had all the driveways seal-coated and all the residents had to park on Cunningham Court. He stated the police department was very adamant that residents only park on one side of the street because there would not be enough access for emergency vehicles to go down the street. He stated his concern with on-street parking, as evidenced recently where people were parking Cunningham Court, which made it quite challenging for residents as well as for any emergency vehicles that may need access down the street. He stated he did not see any exterior signage requested within the application and, as an association, would not like to see any additional signage. He noted that this is a business and would probably want exterior signage. He stated the association believes it would not be of residential nature to provide any exterior signage on Hunt Club Road, Cunningham Court, or any of the streets located in the area. He asked what assurances or guarantees does the homeowners association have for whatever is decided by the Commission in relation to this proposal that will actually get done by the petitioners. He stated this business has been operating, technically illegally according to the zoning code, for a year or so as the Village was unaware of it until the 911 call. He asked how the Commission would know if the guidelines were being followed.
Mr. Pat Kuebker, 17112 W. Washington Street, stated after to listening to all the testimony he is surprised that the Village of Gurnee would let this go on and continue tooperate after finding out about the running of this operation from a 911 call. He stated the ten (10) parking spaces with people living on-site, the staff of 3-4 working there and the doctor visiting will virtually leave no parking available. He stated the testimony given this evening seems to be hearsay.
Ms. Elizabeth Sung, 6407 Cunningham Court, stated she is one of the homeowners in Chelsey Crossing whose townhome abuts the single family residence and she is the first homeowner east and adjacent to the property. She stated she has concerns about the landscaping as her home directly abuts the property. She stated when she purchased her townhome several years ago, from the builder (Jacobs Homes), there were a number of trees along her townhome’s west property line. She stated it was her understanding that the Village of Gurnee required Jacobs Homes to plant an additional 5 trees directly off of Cunningham Court as well. She stated several weeks ago one of the trees was summarily removed and replaced by an un-healthy tree that that is now dying due to not being properly planted with the root bulb protruding above the ground. She stated the tree itself is leaning along with browning and dying and her concern is that without knowing where the property line exists, the action by the applicant to remove the tree raises questions regarding the tree removal policy and what is the disposition toward fellow residents in the neighborhood. She asked if it is possible for any of the trees to be summarily removed in the future and replaced or not at the will of the property owner. She stated it is not just an issue of aesthetics to her but a safety issue as well because the tree that was replaced was not properly planted and is dying. She stated there is no indication in terms of whether or not the common good of the neighborhood will be taken into consideration with such actions in the future. She stated it is the ambiguity of the situation and whether or not there will be a disposition to work together for the good of the subdivision as a whole.
Chairman Sula asked for any other questions from the Public.
Chairman Sula closed the floor to the Public.
Chairman Sula stated that landscaping has come up twice and stated it is somewhat of a complicated issue because of the way this project was brought in. He asked if the trees are on the petitioner’s property or the common property of the Association for Chelsey’s Crossing.
Ms. Velkover stated the first question she would ask the last person who spoke is, were the trees to the immediate west of her unit, because if so, it is probably on the single family residential property that is not part of this petition. She stated it doesn’t sound as if it is on the petitioner’s property as it might be on the residence property that is to the east of the petitioners or it could be in the common area that is the homeowner’s association. She stated if it is on private property it would not be under homeowner’s association control as it is on private property. She noted that the property owner can apply and get a permit for tree removal. She stated the Village has a process and replacement schedule and apparently the owner never went through this process.
Chairman Sula asked Ms. Velkover if Lot #15 is the one she is speaking about.
Ms. Velkover responded correct.
Chairman Sula asked who owns Lot # 15.
Ms. Velkover stated she does not know who owns Lot #15. She stated the petitioner’s is Lot # 14.
Chairman Sula stated he thought he heard someone say that it is the same person who owns Lot # 14 owns Lot #15.
He asked for someone to tell him if that is true.
Ms. Bicok responded she owns both and it is the one-bedroom rental.
Chairman Sula asked Ms. Bicok if she obtained a permit to remove the tree.
Ms. Bicok responded no and stated the tree was moved to another section of the property. She stated the same tree was planted so it blocks traffic and the view.
Chairman Sula stated he senses a pattern here, but stated he would move on.
Chairman Sula asked if Bill Grieve has looked over the drive and parking that has been proposed.
Ms. Booth stated no, Mr. Grieve has not looked at this specific request. She stated that based on code and other senior facilities in town, the petitioners are deficient by 2 parking spaces. Village Zoning Code requires 1 parking space per 5 beds, plus 2 spaces for every 3 employees, plus 1 space for each doctor. She stated with 30 beds, 6 employees, and 1 doctor, they would be required to provide 11 parking spaces. Mr. Booth stated that the petitioner is proposing to convert the existing garage to a dining room so they will be losing their 2 single family parking spaces which are also required per the Zoning Ordinance. She stated this was included in the calculations and the total number of spaces that is needed is 13.
Chairman Sula asked Ms. Booth if the owners that are living in the basement suite are included in the numbers she just provided.
Ms. Booth responded yes, the 2 spaces would account for the owners living in the basement suite.
Chairman Sula asked then if the site is short by 2 spaces.
Ms. Booth responded yes.
Chairman Sula stated it is his understanding that no signage is being asked for and asked if this is correct.
Ms. Booth responded yes, that is what Staff has been told.
Chairman Sula noted there was a comment about integrity and he stated he would not go there.
Chairman Sula stated the Commission must decide whether this use, as proposed, is appropriate in this area. Chairman Sula asked for any questions from the members of the Commission.
Mr. Nordentoft asked if someone could offer him a clarification on the IDPH Assisted Living/Shared Housing License Application. He noted Page 6 Part 5 asks the total number of residents that will be in the establishment. He stated that the application reflects 20. He asked why the petitioner is requesting 30 residents when the IDPH application reflects 20.
Mr. Wojteczko responded that, at the time the application was completed, it was not known what could be done with the area known as the museum space located on the 2nd floor. He stated it was not known whether the area over the garage could be converted into bedroom area. He stated that after they applied they determined that additional bedrooms could be obtained in the museum area and over the garage.
Mr. Nordentoft asked if the petitioner has submitted a revised application asking for 30 residents.
Mr. Wojteczko responded not yet.
Chairman Sula asked why not.
Mr. Wojteczko responded they have not modified their application yet because they do not know what they will be approved for from the Village. They do not want to amend their application with the state to 30 and then have to amend it again, it they are not approved for 30. He stated that this space is not yet built and would only be built upon approval. In his discussions with the state the application can be modified simply with a letter informing them on the change in resident number.
Mr. Nordentoft stated he had a question for Staff. He asked if the petitioners still need to get approval for a Special Use Permit for what they are currently doing if they don’t’ get approval for the build-out.
Ms. Booth responded yes.
Chairman Sula stated the Commission’s choices are to recommend denial because this facility, as proposed, is not appropriate on this site; recommend a Special Use for the number of beds plus the basement suite based on the current build-out; or send a recommendation addressing the possible expansion.
Chairman Sula asked Counsel for a refresher on how Special Uses transfer ownership. He stated this is set-up as an LLC and noted that the Special Uses are deemed to be personal. He asked if this is correct.
Mr. Winter responded correct. He stated he didn’t know whether, once the building was modified as proposed, someone would want to apply for its continued use as an assisted living facility. He stated this will run with these particular petitioners, but obviously the Commission should understand that this could have a long term impacts on the use of this structure.
Chairman Sula asked when the property was acquired if the configuration was as it is today in terms of the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Ms. Bicok responded yes.
Chairman Sula asked how it got to this point.
Mr. Wojteczko responded he would like to ask a question for clarification.
Mr. Wojteczko asked if Chairman Sula meant the number of bedrooms that are in the museum place.
Chairman Sula stated he is talking about all of the bedrooms and bathrooms that exist today. He asked if they existed when the property was purchased.
Ms. Bicok responded there are 6 bedrooms and 12 twelve residents. She stated 2 residents to a bedroom and that is how it was.
Chairman Sula asked if there were 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms when the petitioner acquired the property.
Ms. Bicok responded not 6 bathrooms, but 6 bedrooms.
Chairman Sula stated how he understands it is that each bedroom has a bathroom. He asked if this was correct.
Ms. Bicok responded no, not yet.
Chairman Sula stated that is what he thought he understood.
Ms. Salmons stated currently each bedroom does not have a bathroom.
Ms. Bicok responded that currently each bedroom does not have a bathroom, but that the plans provide for this should they be approved.
Ms. Salmons stated this is not the way the petitioner has portrayed this. She asked how many bathrooms the petitioner has that are used by patients.
Ms. Bicok responded there are 4 bathrooms. She stated in April 2009 prior to the 911 call she spoke with Susan Grobb from the State of Illinois who clarified how assisted living works. She stated assisted living does not need to have a bathroom for each bedroom. She stated that State law requires no more than 4 patients to 1 bathroom. However, she noted that they are proposing, with the build-out, to provide each bedroom with a private bath.
Chairman Sula asked Ms. Salmons or Mr. Park for any comments.
Chairman Sula expressed concern about the inconsistency of testimony. He stated in good conscious he doesn’t think he can vote at the moment and thinks the Commission needs to continue this.
Mr. Winter stated if this is continued some direction should be given to the petitioners, as there have been several comments about what the capacity of this property is and it may be helpful to the petitioners to know that if their request of 30 seems to be too much of a burden to this parcel.
Chairman Sula stated he agrees 100% but doesn’t know if he can craft this. He asked if anyone else could craft this.
Mr. Park stated he didn’t know if the Commission is in the position to suggest what needs to be continued to be addressed over the next weeks/months. He stated he thinks the more substantial decision that the Commission has to make is whether this type of use is appropriate at this location as presented. He stated what the Commission has is the facts in front of them, and not maybes from a few weeks or months down the road. He stated when Chairman Sula suggests that this be continued, he does not support that. He stated the Commission has the information, per the petitioner, to make a recommendation as it sits today.
Chairman Sula stated he can go this way and wanted to make sure the process was vetted out to everyone’s concerns. He stated the Commission has been hit with a lot of facts, a lot of contradictions, and things that do not make sense in general. He stated all he is suggesting to the Commission is as follows: does the Commission want more time or does the Commission think they have heard enough.
Ms. Salmons stated her preference is for the petitioner to come back with a clarification of the questions that the Commission has asked, so the Commission can understand what the petitioners have, and where the petitioners are going with this. She stated right now she doesn’t know.
Chairman Sula stated he does know that the petitioners are saying that they want up to 30 occupants plus the basement suite and 3 parking spaces less than what the Ordinance requires. He stated he did not know why landscape has been removed without the permits and that he does not know the status of the petitioners’ application with the State of Illinois. He stated candidly he doesn’t even know what the petitioners are applying for at the State of Illinois because that is confusing as well.
Chairman Sula stated that the driveway is a separate issue and they are to deal with the land use. He stated the Special Permit is going to hinge on the proper regulatory permits to accomplish whatever business the petitioners are trying to maintain.
Ms. Velkover stated it sounded as though the Commission may have some parking number questions or issues that the petitioners may need to revisit and/or some landscaping. She stated there was not a landscaping plan proposed and this is something the Commission might want to see. She stated that might be a reason to continue this if the Commission does in fact want to continue this. She stated if the Commission wanted to direct the petitioners to get the parking further away from the residences, to the east, it might be something that could be considered. She stated other than that, unfortunately the number of bathrooms per unit is regulated by the State Department of Public Health and she doesn’t want the Commission to get into this because it is beyond the Village’s authority.
Chairman Sula stated he had the impression that the infrastructure was already in place except for building out the doll museum. He stated after reading the materials he thought there was already in place a bathroom for each bedroom that is constructed on the site and until 10 minutes ago, he didn’t realize that wasn’t the case. He stated the materials are a bit confusing in the way they are presented.
Chairman Sula stated before the Commission decides whether or not they want to continue, because of the driveway access to the 2 lots and number of parking spaces and landscaping, they might want to express how they feel about 30 residents plus the basement suite. Is this density acceptable or not? He stated if the Commission feels the density is not okay then the Commission should not go through the process of a continuance. He stated if the Commission feels the density is okay then the Commission should go to the continuance route. Chairman Sula asked the Commission for some direction.
Chairman Sula asked the Commission for a vote of hands of those members who think the 30 beds plus the
basement suite is an acceptable density.
No hands were raised by the Commission members.
Chairman Sula stated there should be a motion on the matter because clearly a continuance will not do anything unless the petitioners want to go for a smaller amount.
Chairman Sula stated clearly there is no support on behalf of the Commission at this stage to allow for (30) thirty temporary residents plus the (2) two in the basement suite.
Ms. Bicok asked Chairman Sula what he would consider adequate. She stated the residents do not drive and the house is 6,000 square feet.
Mr. Winter asked if the petitioners want to amend their petition. He stated they have a current level of operation and tonight they are proposing an expanded use. He stated based on some of the comments it is very likely it would be an unfavorable recommendation to proceed with the current petition. He stated if the petitioners would like to request a continuance to evaluate that, then that request can be made and the petitioners can be given the opportunity to do that. He stated the Commission has heard the testimony and has gone as far as it can this evening so it is the petitioners prerogative whether they want to come back and revisit some of the issues that have been drafted. He stated the petitioners need to understand that currently the petitioners do not have a Special Permit so the assessment might need to be made as to whether an alternative to try to maintain what the petitioners currently have, and this may be a consideration the petitioners may want to make at this time.
Mr. Wojteczko asked for a moment to confer with his clients.
Ms. Bicok stated she would like to ask for a continuance for 24 beds.
Chairman Sula responded no, not for 24 beds. He explained when asking for a continuance the petitioners are asking to adjourn the meeting this evening and come back at a future date with a revised proposal or additional information to this proposal. He stated this is asking for more time for the petitioners to fine tune their proposal.
Ms. Bicok responded okay.
Chairman Sula asked Ms. Bicok how much time she would need to revise her proposal or give the Commission more information to make them feel comfortable.
Chairman Sula stated the Commission meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month and he recommends that the petitioner ask for more than two weeks.
Chairman Sula asked Staff for available dates.
Ms. Velkover stated the next available date for this continuance would be November 17, 2010.
Mr. Wojteczko stated they would like to request the continuance to November 17, 2010.
Chairman Sula asked for a motion.
Mr. Drennan made a motion seconded by Mr. Nordentoft granting the requested continuance and to be held on
November 17, 2010.
Ayes: Sula, Nordentoft, Salmons, Drennan
Motion Carried: 4-1-0
Chairman Sula asked for motion to adjourn.
Mr. Park made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons to adjourn.
The Meeting was adjourned at 9:00 P.M.
Plan Commission Secretary