Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Gurnee Plan Commission - November 16, 2011

Village of Gurnee
Joint Plan Commission & Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes
November 16, 2011



The meeting was called to order at 7:45 P.M.

Plan Commission Members Present:    Chairman James Sula, Richard McFarlane, Sharon Salmons, Gwen Broughton

Plan Commission Members Absent:        David Nordentoft, Patrick Drennan

Zoning Board of Appeals Members Present:        Edwin Paff, John Spadaro, Don Wilson,     Jerry Kolar, Richard Twitchell

Zoning Board of Appeals Members Absent:    Chairman Tom Hood, Robert Monahan

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

Chairman Sula stated Chairman Hood is absent and asked for a motion for a Pro-tem Chairman on behalf of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Spadaro made a motion, seconded by Mr. Twitchell, for Mr. Paff to be the Pro-tem Chairman for the Zoning Board of Appeals.

1. Approval of Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for April 27, 2011. (ZBA Only)
Mr. Wilson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Spadaro, to approve the Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for
April 27, 2011.

Roll Call    
Ayes:        Paff, Spadaro, Wilson, Kolar, Twitchell
Nays:        None
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    5-0-0

2. Approval of the Zoning Board of Appeal’s 2012 meeting schedule
Mr. Wilson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Spadaro, to approve the Zoning Board of Appeal’s 2012 meeting schedule.

Roll Call    
Ayes:        Paff, Spadaro, Wilson, Kolar, Twitchell
Nays:        None
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    5-0-0

3. Public Hearing: Text Amendments to the Gurnee Zoning Ordinance
a.  Text amendment to allow Adult Day Care Facilities as an Accessory Use in Residential Zoning Districts.

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

Mr. Mentkowski stated the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals will review and hear testimony pertaining to text amendments to the Gurnee Zoning Ordinance proposed by Ecumenical Support Services for the Elderly (ESSE) to allow Adult Day Care Facilities as an Accessory Use in Residential Zoning Districts. He stated essentially the Adult Cares would only be permitted if they were accessory to the following principal uses and on property residentially zoned: chapels, churches, similar places of worship, parks and schools. He stated the applicant is present as well as representatives from Bethel Lutheran Church including Ronald Bowes from ESSE.

Chairman Sula opened the floor to the petitioner.

Mr. Ron Bowes, of 1153 S. Fairview Avenue, Lombard, Illinois, stated he is representing Adult Day Care (ESSE) which is a non-for-profit Ecumenical Support Group. He stated they operate three Adult Day Care Centers in the western suburbs. He stated they have been asked by Bethel Lutheran Church to open a center in Gurnee, where currently the Gurnee Zoning Ordinance does not allow this as a form of business. He stated the reason for partnership with them is because it is a very complex situation to have an Adult Day Care, particularly in partnering with the State of Illinois. He stated what he hopes to do this evening is establish what Adult Day Care is; the benefits; cost and financial assistance which mostly comes from the State; comparison of long term care services; some demographics and reasons why the Commission might consider this change for residents of Gurnee; as well as the Community Care Program which is State Program Statistics that sheds light on the economics.

Mr. Bowes stated Adult Day Care is a planned program of activities designed to promote well-being through social and health related services. He stated Adult Day Cares can be either private or public, for profit or non-profit. He stated there are two main efforts that Adult Care provides; 1) is to take people with Dementia or Alzheimer’s or those that need social stimulation out of the house and into a center where they can receive both of these kind of activities; and (2) is to provide the caregivers a much needed break, chance to get away and not have to worry about the person they are providing care for.

Mr. Bowes stated currently there are about 4,600 Adult Day Care Centers nationwide, with each state having their own regulations. He stated within the State of Illinois it is the Department on Aging Community Care Program and in Lake County it is administered by Catholic Charities. He stated in Du Page County it is administered by the County itself and they determine who needs financial assistance. He stated the Adult Day Care operation does not get involved with the finances as it is done through the County itself as in Du Page County or in Lake County it is with the Catholic Charities.

Mr. Bowes stated benefits include a facility that is safe and secure for adults to spend the day and within their operation the space is usually provided by churches who donate their space keeping the costs down. He noted they do not provide religious services and this program is run separately. He stated they are supported by 26 churches, of which in the Western suburbs three churches (2 Lutheran and 1 Baptist) provide space. He stated education and activities are provided in a very structured way, noting people who have Dementia or Alzheimer’s function best in a very structured environment which stabilizes mental health as well as assisting those persons to come out of a socially or introverted environment along with peer support. He stated meals and snacks are also provided.

Mr. Bowes stated the average cost nationwide is $64.00/day and their cost is $55.00/day. He noted they do not set their rates as they are part of the CCP Program of the State of Illinois who defines what can be charged, and they cannot charge more or less for private pay. He stated a big portion of the cost is not covered by Medicare. He stated Medicaid (and this is where the CCP Program is involved) of which 50% is State money and 50% Federal money, will pay some or all after they make the determination as to what the applicant needs. He stated currently 25% of Senior Citizens are on Medicaid. He stated in nursing homes approximately 50% of the people end up on Medicaid. He stated some private medical insurance policies may cover a portion and long term insurance may pay a portion.

Mr. Bowes stated Adult Day Care Services acts as an alternative to supplement home care and an alternative to going into a nursing home. He stated through surveys it has been determined that most people do not want to leave their homes. He stated Adult Day Care allows a person to stay in their home with their spouse or their children adding a couple of years to their time in their home, in a non-nursing home environment. He stated Adult Day Cares have increased from 2,000 in 1989 to 4,600 in 2009 and continuing to grow. He stated the problems Adult Day Cares have are finances. He noted in the State of Illinois they can be 6 months late in making payments for services rendered which has forced many Adult Day Care facilities out of business. He stated they happen to be in a good position where they are able to sustain themselves.

Mr. Bowes stated in one of their centers they performed a demographic which would probably be very similar to what may be found in Gurnee. He stated the demographics showed a mix of 58% to 42% of males over females noting normally this ratio is reversed; median age of 82 years; majority Christian; and in this particular case living in Glenbard, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton as well as other surrounding towns; majority Caucasian; 2/3 of clients with Dementia or Alzheimer’s; others who live alone and join the program for socialization and peer support; 50% living with a child or spouse; and 35% - 45% State clients (part of the CCP Program). He stated according to the Chicago GOTO 2040 Surveys, the number of residents age 65 – 84 is projected to double; 85 years and older to triple by the year 2040. He stated the nicest thing about Adult Day Care is that it satisfies the need for people to stay in their own homes or with their children. He stated the State of Illinois is in a crisis in trying to furnish nursing home support to seniors and Adult Day Care is preferred and supported by the State noting the cost ratio between Adult Day Care and nursing homes is tremendously different. He stated currently in Gurnee there are no Adult Day Cares, and there are some located in the surrounding areas noting for the most part that they do not take persons in the CCP Program, missing approximately ½ of the audience. He stated if they only took private pay clients they would miss ½ of the population that needs their services.

Chairman Sula stated to clarify for the members of the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals that (ESSE) is petitioning and they are not just asking for their Particular Use and that they are talking about a Zoning Ordinance that applies to any church, park district or other use within a residential area that might want to own this. He stated to clarify this is a broad base Zoning Ordinance in total and it is not unique to Bethel Church.

Chairman Sula asked for questions or comments from the general public regarding this matter.

Ms. Karen Kozlik, 38811 N. Highway 45 in Lake Villa, stated she is the Director of Bethel Lutheran Pre-School and as a representative of Bethel Lutheran Church, she strongly hopes this would be a partnership that could begin with ESSE in order to reach a population of people who are currently not being served within Gurnee.

Chairman Sula closed the floor to the Public.

Chairman Sula asked for questions or comments from members of the Plan Commission.

Mr. McFarlane stated he believes the key is that the way this is structured has to be an ancillary activity to the organization and is comfortable with the wording that there will not be commercial activities moving in, thus keeping the flavor of the present zoning intact.

Chairman Sula stated his understanding is changing the definition of Day Care to include Senior Citizens and the only thing being done is in the Permitted Uses to allow to be availed by churches, schools, and park districts.

Ms. Salmons asked if this precludes someone from having this in their home.

Chairman Sula responded that is correct and noted that would require a Special Use.

Chairman Sula stated they are changing the definition of Day Care to include the elderly and asked for confirmation from Mr. Mentkowski.

Mr. Mentkowski stated there is a separate definition of a Home Day Care Center for residential. He stated a Day Care Center is no longer a Permitted Use in the residential zoning districts and Day Care Center was moved toward commercial zoning districts.

Ms. Velkover stated basically there are (2) two Day Care Center definitions which are: 1) a Day Care Center where they are inserting Adult Day Care and 2) a Home Day Care which is what happens in a residential district.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked for comments or questions from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Wilson stated 5126 Grand Avenue is commercial. He stated the more defined and backed up within the Village Ordinances, the fewer day care centers in residential areas, the better.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff responded this proposal is not affecting that.

Mr. Wilson stated this particular place is fine.

Chairman Sula asked if Bethel Lutheran Church is zoned residential or commercial.

Mr. Mentkowski responded it is zoned residential.

Chairman Sula stated the way the Zoning Ordinance works is that churches are allowed in residential areas.

Mr. Wilson stated that is fine as worship is on Sundays, but then you are increasing to every day of the week with traffic going there.

Ms. Velkover responded there are already day care centers being run out of churches as accessory. She stated this is Adult Day Care.

Mr. McFarlane stated all that is really being added is a clause for seniors.

Mr. Wilson stated he is talking about all the vehicles that would be bringing seniors to the church and then picking them up later in the day.

Mr. Twitchell stated he feels this is a good step forward for the community. He stated there are park districts around the area, throughout the region, and park agencies across the country taking this type of service on and on, more and more. He stated church groups of various denominations around the country are doing this more and more. He stated this is something that is needed. He stated the demographics of the community are such that this should be considered for the future. He stated in looking at schools and parks within residential districts he doesn’t feel the amount of traffic that would be generated by this type of use would be so great that it would be much different from any of those types of similar uses. He noted it would be much less than a school in a residential district.

Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Twitchell based on what information.

Mr. Twitchell responded based on 30 years of experience as a land planner and landscape architect dealing with these types of issues.

Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Twitchell, in particular, with this brand new issue that is before the Commission this evening?

Mr. Twitchell responded no, but stated he assumes this will have significantly less traffic than a child day care center.

Mr. Wilson stated that is not what the Commission is here to compare. He stated this is not to compare the benefits of this or this. He stated it is about the person that lives in the house next to a church, who may have bought the house thinking one day of the week it would be busy, but now to increase the traffic to five days a week.

Mr. Twitchell stated he drives by the church located at the corner of Rt. 43 and Rt. 60 on a daily basis before 6:00AM and that church probably 75 cars already in the parking lot every single day of the week. He stated other churches around the area have various events.

Mr. Wilson asked if that particular church is zoned residential.

Mr. Twitchell responded no, it is not.

Mr. Wilson stated that is what we are talking about.

Mr. Twitchell responded all churches do these types of things.

Ms. Velkover stated in a residential district zoning district it could be a school as well. She stated this is something that is already permitted for such as having classes associated with the church. She stated they could have grade school up to high school in a residential district as a Permitted Use. She stated she doesn’t know if traffic from an Adult Day Care would be that different than a use that is already permitted on that property by right.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked if there is any limit or restriction to the number that is allowed in the Adult Day Care.

Ms. Velkover responded we are not proposing anything. She stated what would limit it would be building and fire codes.

Chairman Sula stated basically what is being proposed is closing up a hole in the Zoning Ordinance. He stated right now a park district, church or school can have any type of activities geared toward young people or Senior Citizens; day camp for younger children; bingo or other social activities for older people. He stated this is just kind of closing the loop saying it is okay to have Adult Day Care. He stated it is legitimizing what they probably could do anyway, but this is clearing it up to make it crystal clear to allow an Adult Day Care, as there is kind of a hole in the Ordinance.

Mr. Wilson stated he believes the hole should almost be there so that in the individual cases they have to bring these forward for a variance especially when trying to protect people in the neighborhood from an increase in traffic. He stated it is a business and it can be put next to someone’s home. He stated he is looking out for people who live in a particular neighborhood that could be affected by living next to a church and now an Adult Day Care Center.

Chairman Sula asked why anyone would care whether there are 20 children between the ages of 2 and 12 together on a given day or between the ages of 60 and 80 together on a given day.

Mr. Wilson stated it is not the age he is referring to.

Chairman Sula asked what Mr. Wilson’s concern is.

Mr. Wilson responded anything that is done to extend the usage of properties in residential areas he believes is a slippery slope. He stated remembering back to when the Commission was discussing Child Day Centers he was opposed to a lady who wanted to have one on a cul-de-sac. He stated the concept was if a person lived on a cul-de-sac there is less traffic and then bringing in an additional 7 cars per day into that cul-de-sac.

Chairman Sula stated and the difference there is that we are talking about in your example, a typical 2 to 4 bedroom home as designed for “x” number of people on a given day as opposed to a structure that is geared for servicing hundreds of persons a day if necessary. He stated there is a big difference as there is parking and egress which is already there. He stated we are talking about allowing a use that is just maximizing what the facility is capable of doing and providing a benefit to the community for people that special assistance.

Mr. Wilson stated this is why to look at this on an individual basis. He pointed out the church by Spaulding School stating it is small church. He stated what is being described is if there is a nice big parking lot, in/out is no problem. He asked if most places in residential areas have this type of set-up.

Chairman Sula responded if they are geared to a church, school or park district, yes they are. He stated this is all that is being addressed and nothing is being addressed that has to do with a single family home. He stated this is specifically addressing facilities that are geared to service many people at any one point in time.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked for any other comments from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Spadaro commented he has done some research on Adult Day Care Centers. He stated there is an organization that is pushing for more dollars for communities to host. He stated the website, National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA), is pushing for bills in Congress to get extra monies for the States and communities that have these types of places. He stated currently the bill is capped at $3 billion dollars and they are trying to increase this to $12 billion dollars which is good money that could be coming into the Gurnee community helping to off-set costs of emergency services, etc. He stated this is something to research on the internet. He noted this is a very powerful organization to bring dollars into the community.

Mr. Twitchell asked Staff if this is something that ESSE can come in and do or if they have to go through some sort of an approval process either at Staff level or Board level.

Ms. Velkover responded it is an Accessory Use and fire and building codes would need to be met. She stated there would be no zoning process or anything like that.

Chairman Sula stated it would become a Permitted Use.

Ms. Salmons asked if time limits should be restricted as are done on Child Day Care i.e. 8:00AM – 5:00PM, 9:00AM – 2:00PM, etc.

Chairman Sula responded he is not aware of any restrictions of when churches can hold services.

Ms. Salmons asked if there is any State oversight.

Mr. Spadaro responded that there are some states that actually do license Adult Day Care. He stated those that do license are much stricter.

Chairman Sula commented that the State of Illinois does not license Adult Day Care.

Mr. McFarlane stated if demographics say this will be an issue, then the Commission is well-served getting out in front of it as there will be many more adult seniors.

Mr. McFarlane made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to recommend approval of the text amendment regarding Adult Day Care as an Accessory Use based on the fact this would fit in with the comprehensive plan for Gurnee, will ameliorate a Zoning Ordinance issue, and would not have a detrimental effect on neighborhoods affected by this amendment.

Chairman Sula asked for any comments or discussion on the motion.

Roll Call
Ayes:        Sula, McFarlane, Broughton, Salmons
Nays:        None
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    4-0-0

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked for a motion from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Spadaro made a motion, seconded by Mr. Twitchell, to recommend approval to recommend approval of the text amendment regarding Adult Day Care as an Accessory Use based on the fact this would fit in with the comprehensive plan for Gurnee, will ameliorate a Zoning Ordinance issue, and would not have a detrimental effect on neighborhoods affected by this amendment.

Roll Call    
Ayes:        Paff, Spadaro, Kolar, Twitchell
Nays:        Wilson
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    4-1-0

3.b. Text amendment regarding permanently installed emergency back-up generators on residentially and non-residentially zoned property
Mr. Ziegler stated the second matter before the Commissions is a proposed text amendment pertaining to setbacks of generators both in commercial and residential applications.  He stated the Zoning Ordinance is quiet on permanently installed generators and, as such, staff has interpreted generators must comply with all principle building setbacks. He stated in going back over all the building permits issued over the history of the building permit software, permits issued specifically for generators have complied with principle building setbacks. He stated with the most recent storms this last summer and the extended power outages, there have been several building permit applications submitted for back-up generators both on a commercial and residential basis. He stated most of the permit applications have met the principle building setbacks; however, there are (3) three of applications (2 commercial properties and 1 residential property) that are not able to meet the setbacks and have basically instigated the review of the situation and a proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Ziegler stated in Staff’s research they have likened the impact of a generator most closely to an air conditioner unit wanting to see how the two entities compared to each other so that a good logical rationalization. He stated the research found that sound generation is very comparable to an air conditioner condenser unit and in most cases is actually less. He stated it was found that typical natural gas, propane residential size generators generate between 63 and 74 decibels whereby typical residentially sized air conditioner condenser units go between 65 – 80 decibels.

He stated duration wise in normal circumstances the residential generators would have exercise on a weekly basis which is a scheduled automatic exercising for duration of 10-20 minutes. He stated as everyone knows the air conditioners run 50% of the time all summer long. He stated from a duration standpoint Staff felt that generators were less of an impact from a sound generation stance.  He stated based upon this Staff wanted to come up with a set of standards that somewhat mimic the air conditioner standards in the allowances that would be provided for generator installations.

Mr. Ziegler stated the air conditioning standards in the Zoning Ordinance are specifically allowed as an encroachment into the required setbacks. He stated currently they are allowed up to (3) three feet from a side lot line and (5) five feet from a rear lot line. He stated Staff is proposing to have a similar treatment for the permanently installed generators. He stated Staff is not proposing to allow gasoline or diesel generators in a residential environment to be installed as they generate a lot more sound.  He stated similarly in a commercial or industrial environment Staff is proposing the same (3) three foot and (5) five foot minimum setbacks.

Mr. Ziegler stated the Illinois Pollution Control Board is the State agency that is giving the charge of regulating sound between properties within the State of Illinois. He stated the IPCB basically classifies properties in three different categories – residential, commercial and industrial and provides sound limits from each of those different districts to each other. He stated as part of those sound regulations they also exempt all single family homes and the typical noises that are generated from a single family home, i.e. an air conditioner condenser or what Staff believes as a residential generator. He stated those types of noises would be exempted from the IPCB regulations.

Mr. Ziegler stated as such Staff has placed before the Commissions this evening a set of proposed generator regulations that are based upon front yard, corner side yard, internal side yard, and rear yard. He stated these are basic standards for both residential and commercial applications. He stated there is an additional regulation for commercial applications as they are adjacent to residential properties.

Chairman Sula asked for questions or comments from the general public regarding this matter.

Mr. Steve Wood, 908 Woodland Road in Lake Bluff, representing Paris Presents on Swanson Court stated he is in favor of the proposed amendment. He stated with the July 11, 2011 power outage they were without power for seven days and one of the last businesses in Gurnee to come back up with power. He stated it had a great detrimental effect for their company losing much revenue in sales and having to lay-off 75 people for the week affecting those person’s livelihoods. He stated as a company they are in support of this and are looking forward to installing their own generators should this amendment pass.

Mr. Steve Loudin, 2663 Sheldon Road in Grayslake, stated he is the President, Owner and Co-founder of Tri-Cell Honeycomb also located on Swanson Court. He stated he is in agreement with the proposed amendment and showing to put a proposed generator in on the northwest corner of their building which is immediately adjacent to the Commonwealth Edison transformer which is right next to the building. He stated they have been in business in Gurnee for 28 years being located at 2100 Swanson Court and in that location for the past 15 years, and at 3841 Swanson Court for 13 years prior. He stated during the recent power failure they were more fortunate than Paris Presents with their power only being out for 2 days. He stated since June through August they were without power for a total of 6 days, on 5 separate occasions. He stated they are suppliers to many different businesses around the country and around the world, primarily with the largest being the automotive industry. He stated they send 2-3 truckloads of honeycomb paper to the automotive industry in Detroit every week. He stated if his company was shut down for a week or more it would cause great detriment to the automotive industry in the United States probably shutting down 3-4 automotive plants around the country. He stated, therefore, they are very much in favor of the re-wording of the Ordinance to allow them to put this back-up generator within their building setback.

Chairman Sula closed the floor to the Public.

Chairman Sula asked Mr. Ziegler about the esthetics of propane tanks for generators and what is envisioned.

Mr. Ziegler responded that most of the systems installed as a permanently mounted generator are going to be the natural gas systems. He stated he is not sure if there are any residents in town that do not have access to natural gas. He stated he knows there are some residences with the large propane tanks in their back yards but doesn’t think there are any of those residences in the Gurnee community. He stated generators typically run off of natural gas or propane and propane is the other option if natural gas is not installed at a home.  

Chairman Sula asked how the Zoning Ordinance would deal with someone wanting to put a large horizontal propane tank on their property.

Mr. Ziegler responded that he didn’t know if propane tanks were addressed. He stated from a financial standpoint he did not know if it would make a lot of sense to do this. He stated the Zoning Ordinance could be limited to natural gas only if this would provide the Commissions additional comfort. He stated he was quoting the manufacturer’s specs that the majority of quiet running generators are either natural gas or propane.

Chairman Sula stated personally, he would rather error on the side of just dealing with natural gas. He stated he certainly would not want a large horizontal tank sitting within his view from his next door neighbor’s house.

Mr. McFarlane stated plus it is a big tank of explosive material. He stated this is a loophole that should be closed.

Chairman Sula asked for any other comments from the Plan Commission.

Mr. Ziegler stated he would like to run through some of the proposed setbacks that Staff has established at this point.

Mr. Ziegler stated the residential setbacks for generators are as follows:

Front Yard:  
Not permitted. He stated Staff is contemplating allowing it in the front area but it would not be allowed in any way, shape or form in the front yard setback.

Corner Side Yard:  (House is on the corner of 2 streets)
May be placed in the required setback, but shall be installed no more than 5 feet from the nearest corner side wall of the house (i.e. tucked up against the house).

Interior Side Yard: (Two homes right next to each other)
May be placed in the required setback, but shall be installed no more than 5 feet from the nearest side wall of the principal structure and shall be located no closer than 3 feet from the interior property line.  This provides for a minimum 3 foot setback from the interior lot line, mirroring what is currently in the Zoning Ordinance for air conditioners.

Rear Yard:
May be placed in the buildable area between the principal building and the rear yard lot line and may also project into the required rear yard setback if installed within 5 feet from the rear wall of the principal building. (i.e. tucked within 5 feet of the rear wall of the building).

Enclosure:  
Generators installed on residentially zoned property must be enclosed by a sound attenuated box or cabinet with the adequate mufflers that have been professionally manufactured for the generator.

Mr. Ziegler stated the commercial or industrial setbacks for generators are as follows:

Front Yard:
Not permitted. He stated Staff is contemplating allowing it in the front area but it would not be allowed in any way, shape or form in the front yard setback.

Corner Side Yard:
a. May be placed in the required setback, but shall be installed no more than 12 feet from the nearest corner side wall of the principal building, anticipating the larger size commercial or industrial generator.

b. Any generator installed in or adjacent to a corner side yard assumably facing a street it must be effectively screened with year-round landscaping material.  A majority of the screening material shall come from evergreen trees with a minimum planting height of 6 feet and be a species similar to, but not limited to, Arborvitae, Spruce, or as otherwise recommended by a certified arborist or similarly titled professional, with said planting species being approved by the Village.

Interior Side Yard:
May be placed in the required setback, but shall be installed no more than 12 feet from the nearest side wall of the principal building.

Rear Yard:
May be placed in the buildable area between the principal building and the rear yard lot line and may also project into the required rear yard setback if installed within 12 feet from the rear wall of the principal building.

If Adjacent to Residential Property Line:    
When a generator is located in a permitted yard that abuts or is adjacent to a Residentially Zoned property line, it shall be effectively screened with year-round landscaping material (in the same manner as required by the corner side yard restrictions defined herein).  

Chairman Sula asked if in non-residential areas, if roof-top units would be a consideration.

Mr. Ziegler responded that roof-top units would assume to be within the principle building setback since they are sitting on top of a building, so this would not apply to those units. He stated this is only looking into encroachments into the required setbacks.

Ms. Broughton asked for further clarification on generator placement in front yard setbacks and front yard areas.

Mr. Ziegler responded a generator cannot be in the front yard setback but it could be located between the principal structure and the front yard setback (i.e. the front area), as long the generator meets the 5 foot and/or 12 foot distance from the principal structure.  He stated the front area provision was created because there are circumstances with large lots where the principal building is setback further than the required front yard setback, or in the case of a corner lot the orientation of the front of the principal structure is towards the corner side yard.  He stated in those circumstances Staff did not want to preclude their ability to place a generator on what would be the front or corner side of the structure and instead potentially force a unit into an area in closer proximity to the establishment’s front door.

Ms. Broughton asked if a generator could be placed in the front yard setback.

Mr. Ziegler responded it is not permitted. He stated the Ordinance language that Staff will be drafting will prohibit it within the front yard setback but it would be allowed between the front yard setback and the front building structure (i.e. front area).

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked for comments or questions from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Wilson stated on the non-residentially zoned property it is allowing for 12 feet and on the paperwork provided to the Commissions it states 15 feet. He asked if the 12 foot size of a generator reasonable or if 15 feet is more reasonable.

Chairman Sula stated what is being discussed is an overall amendment to the Zoning Ordinance. He stated Staff is proposing 12 feet. He stated if someone needs 15 feet they would have to come forward with a Special Use Permit. He stated what the Commissions need to deal with is the overall issues of the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Wilson asked if anyone on Staff took a look at what the average size of a generator would be.

Mr. Ziegler responded yes and noted most of the generators for commercial applications are between 6 and 8 feet in width and need to have a clearance of 3 to 4 feet. He stated that is why they went with a maximum size of generator width which would be 8 feet, with a maximum clearance of 4 feet and this would facilitate most applications. He stated there is always a generator that may be bigger, with more clearance that could be needed, but the majority of the applications with 12 feet from the wall should facilitate most applications.

Ms. Velkover stated both of the applications do meet the code. She stated the 15 feet that Mr. Wilson is referring to is actually the building setback. She stated it would not be the width of the unit.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked if Mr. Ziegler had the noise level on a commercial unit.

Mr. Zielger responded they vary greatly based on the size and power draw that would be required off of them. He stated the difference and why Staff did not specifically address the noise levels in the commercial applications is because they are still governed by the Illinois Pollution Control Board. He stated no matter what Staff does as a body here, there is a base level of neighborhood of noise control that would be covered by the state regulations and the Village would be responsible for enforcing those.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked then there is a certain noise output maximum.

Mr. Ziegler responded yes as measured at the adjacent property line.

Mr. Winter stated the State standards really measure at the property line and it is the sound that goes to the receiving property. He stated it does not necessarily measure what is omitted from the unit but, what is measured, is what the sound is at the property line for the receiving property.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked if it could be screened in some way to cut the noise down.

Mr. Winter replied yes. He stated ultimately the standard must be met. He noted going back to the propane tank and stated some of the language currently drafted is generator. He stated it would have to be looked into whether there are fire code provisions. He stated technically the fuel source for the generator might have some additional treatment under the fire code. He stated the way in which it is drafted just identifying the generator does perhaps leave open the opportunity to say propane tanks are not a generator and the setbacks would have to be complied with or some of the fire code provisions.

Chairman Sula asked if at this time it would be better to restrict the Ordinance to natural gas only.

Mr. Winter responded he thinks that certainly these questions would be part of the record and that could go forward. He stated Staff can do further research. He stated he thinks this is a very good point that may have not been researched prior to tonight’s meeting. He stated it may be addressed one of the codes.

Chairman Sula asked then between now and the time it gets to the Village Board this can be hammered out.

Mr. Winter replied correct.

Mr. Paff asked if anyone can run a generator whenever they want to generate their electricity all the time.

Mr. Ziegler responded that typically the residentially sized generators are not large enough to power the entire house. He stated generators power select circuits, basically a refrigerator, freezer, and a few lights within a house. He stated to buy one that is large enough to completely power a house and go off grid would not make a lot of financial sense.

Chairman Sula stated sometimes people make decisions that do not make financial sense.

Mr. Ziegler stated from a noise generation standpoint the larger generators are not that much louder than the moderately sized ones. He stated they will run into issues with being able to squeeze it in the side yard if it gets too large and 5 feet away from the house still applies which would limit the ability to have a monster sized generator.

Chairman Sula stated Mr. Paff raised a good point and asked what about emissions.

Mr. Ziegler responded emissions for regular operations, such as the 10 minute exercising, will not add any more emission than what the flute from a natural gas furnace would emit. He stated it would be much less.

Mr. Paff stated the only issue would be if it were elevated above the ground.

Mr. Ziegler stated he would not call it a significant impact. He stated an odor might be detected if within 5 or 10 feet but that would be about it.

Chairman Sula stated the high efficiency furnaces come a foot off the ground and this would not be issue anyway.

Mr. Twitchell stated he had a comment about the landscape clause within the Ordinance. He stated there is a joke amongst designers if you really want to call attention to something you are trying to screen you put a row of Arborvitae around it. He stated he has written a number of Ordinances that were design standards for developments and communities that included landscape components like this for dumpsters, utility pads, etc.  He stated one of the tools he has used in writing Ordinances is viewing the typical preference survey where 2 photographs are shown of a very similar installation where one has the row Arborvitae and the other one has a combination of evergreen and deciduous materials in a more natural kind of planting.  He stated he has never seen anyone even during the winter months where more can be seen through the deciduous materials, that no one ever selects the row of Arborvitae with the design to go with. He stated with this in mind, he would like to suggest a small change in the wording. He noted  under the corner side yard, in the second sentence and suggested that it read screening material shall come from evergreen trees with a minimum planting height of 6 feet and be a planted in a natural configuration.  He suggests leaving it as this and in this way, most of the material would be evergreen. He stated if Arborvitae was chosen it could be combined with things together making it more of a quality plan instead of something that sticks out like a sore thumb.

Mr. Ziegler responded that he does not disagree.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked for any other questions or comments.

Mr. Ziegler stated before the Commissions move onto a vote he would like to point out that in going through this Staff found one issue with the current air conditioner regulations in that the strict interpretation of the regulations require the air conditioner condenser unit be separated minimum of 10 feet away from the principle building. He stated Staff is also proposing a clean-up of the air conditioner side and as part of this Text Amendment staff is proposing to clean this issue up and to treat air conditioners and generators in the exact same manner.

Chairman Sula asked if this is something that the Commissions should recommend as well.

Mr. Ziegler responded yes, that this is something that Staff feels should be recommended as well and treat both of them as the same.

Mr. McFarlane made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to recommend approval of the Text Amendment as outlined, with the addition to correct the current air conditioner text to mirror the text proposed for generators and to include the wording regarding the deciduous and evergreen plantings.

Chairman Sula asked for any comments on the motion.


Roll Call
Ayes:        Sula, McFarlane, Broughton, Salmons
Nays:        None
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    4-0-0

Mr. Spadaro made a motion, seconded by Mr. Twitchell, to recommend approval in accordance with the Plan Commission.

Roll Call    
Ayes:        Paff, Spadaro, Wilson, Kolar, Twitchell
Nays:        None
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    5-0-0

3.c Text Amendment to Article 6.1.6 Other Provisions, I-3 Intensive Industrial District to adjust the article numbering
Ms. Velkover stated there is an article in the Zoning Ordinance that is miss-numbered and needs to be re-numbered, more like a house keeping issue.  She stated Article 6.1.6 Other Provisions, I-3 Intensive Industrial District needs to be amended to adjust the article numbering from Article 6.1.6 to Article 6.3.6.

Chairman Sula asked for a motion.

Mr. McFarlane made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons, to recommend approval to re-number Article 6.1.6 to 6.3.6.

Roll Call
Ayes:        Sula, McFarlane, Broughton, Salmons,
Nays:        None
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    4-0-0

Mr. Spadaro made a motion, seconded by Mr. Twitchell, to recommend approval to re-number Article 6.1.6 to 6.3.6.

Roll Call    
Ayes:        Paff, Spadaro, Wilson, Kolar, Twitchell
Nays:        None
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    5-0-0

To amend Articles 6.1.6.7.d(1), 6.2.6.7.d(1), and 6.3.6.7.d(1) Performance Standards, Noise
Ms. Velkover stated that while examining generators, Staff anticipates any complaints to be about noise which requires adequate and appropriate noise controls in the Zoning Code.  She stated several years ago a PUD petition had a sound component which required the review by an acoustic consultant, Dr. Thunder.  She stated the consultant found the Zoning Ordinance noise standards to be obsolete; specifically, the frequency bands as defined in the Zoning Ordinance were obsolete and the equipment to measure these bands has not been made in over 30 years.  She stated the consultant’s comparisons used the Village Code as best as possible but the consultant also evaluated the sound component against the State of Illinois Pollution Control Noise Ordinance.  
Ms. Velkover stated the consultant recommended our existing noise ordinance be redone and with the State Code being very consistent to our existing noise ordinance, Staff is seeking a recommendation to remove the obsolete standards and reference the State of Illinois code.  Additionally, she stated the State Code provides for greater controls than our existing code with respect to nighttime noise and use of land standards.

Mr. Spadaro asked about the residents who live around Six Flags and should they complain about noise, will the Village grandfather these existing businesses or are we looking at a “pie in the face” scenario when it comes to noise issues.

Mr. Winter responded this is an area with concurrent jurisdiction, meaning if someone believes there is a problem, they could get an acoustics engineer and file a complaint with the State of Illinois Pollution Control Board.  He stated this is a trend more communities will follow, essentially adopting rules already in place and, as staff as pointed out, these are measurable guidelines and standards the Village has essentially defaulted to the Illinois statute already.

Mr. Twitchell asked how the proposed text amendment applies to the recently adopted Wind Ordinance.

Ms. Velkover responded separate noise standards were established within the Wind Ordinance, which was created by the same acoustic engineer, Dr. Thunder, and was based on State noise standards.

Mr. McFarlane made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons, to recommend approval of the text amendment change for the noise performance standards to conform to State of IL standards.

Roll Call
Ayes:        Sula, McFarlane, Broughton, Salmons,
Nays:        None
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    4-0-0

Mr. Wilson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Kolar, to recommend approval in accordance with the Plan Commission.

Roll Call    
Ayes:        Paff, Spadaro, Wilson, Kolar, Twitchell
Nays:        None
Abstain:    None
Motion Carried:    5-0-0

4. Informal Discussion: Pet Day Care Facilities and Kennels in Commercial Zoning Districts
Ms. Booth stated Pet Day Cares are currently allowed through a Special Use in the C-S2 Automobile Supported Business District and in each of the 3 industrial districts. She stated a kennel use is allowed as a Special Use in the R-1 Single Family District and is permitted by right in the I-1 Restrict Industrial District. She stated the last time the Pet Day Care issue was visited was back in 2007 with a Text Amendment that created the definition and brought the use into the Zoning Ordinance. She stated she believes the Kennel Use has been in the Zoning Ordinance since the last comprehensive update in 1980.  She stated Ms. Nastos has been looking to open a Pet Day Care and many of the sites and available buildings she has looked at has been in the C-B2 Community Business District, which is one of the main retail/commercial areas in the Village.  She stated when Staff looked at the use list they found similar uses permitted by right in the C-B2 District, such as pet shops, animal hospitals and veterinarian clinics which could potentially have the same impacts as a Pet Day Care in terms of overnight boarding and interior noise impacts within the building. She stated Staff suggested Ms. Nastos appear informally before both Boards to introduce the proposed Text Amendment to add Pet Day Care and Kennel uses to the C-B2 zoning district as a special use. She stated any opinions or guidance that the Boards could provide to Ms. Nastos on a Pet Day Care Use and/or a Kennel use would be very helpful.

Chairman Sula stated this is not an actionable item and the Boards are just to provide feedback.

Chairman Sula opened up the floor.

Ms. Mary Nastos, 1413 Camden Drive in Gurnee, stated she is proposing a Text Amendment to the C-B2 Community Business District to add Pet Day Care Facility and Kennels as a Special Use. She stated the Village of Gurnee has a population of over 30,000 residents and provides the community with a variety of businesses to fulfill the needs of its residents. She stated currently kennels are allowed in the R-1 by Special Use and the I-1 by right. She stated Pet Day Cares are allowed in the I-1, I-2, I-3 with a Special Use and CS-2 by right.

She stated however, the need is for convenience for pet owners commuting to and from work on the I-94 expressway as well as travelers accessing the expressway as they drive to the airport or drive out of town and those commuters frequenting Gurnee Mills Mall, Great America, local hotels and businesses that do not accept pets. She stated nearby Villages with similar populations provide for the day care boarding need in convenient locations in the commercial and general business districts of their communities such as Central Bark in Grayslake and Little Paws in Deer Park. She stated some other communities provide for the need in shopping centers and strip malls such as PetSmart located in a shopping center in Vernon Hills which can board up to 75 dogs overnight. She stated Amusement Bark is located in a strip mall in Westchester and has no limit to the number of dogs it can accommodate over night; Pet Clips in Downers Grove is located in a shopping center and has no limit to the number of dogs they can board; and Daddy Dog Care in Mundelein is a Pet Day Care located in a shopping center. She stated none of the Villages for these 4 facilities located in strip malls and shopping centers have received any complaints from adjacent businesses in multi-tenant buildings. She stated the CB-2 Zoning District is the most common commercial zoning district in Gurnee and allows for the greatest opportunity for a variety of tenant spaces in existing multi-tenant or free standing buildings. She stated in the CB-2 District the Use List allows for pet shops and veterinary clinics by right. She stated for the proposed Text Amendment a Pet Day Care and Kennel would be classified as a Special Use Permit to be consistent with the classification of the use in the CS-2, I-1, I-2, I-3 and R-1 Districts. She stated it also allows each pet care kennel to be reviewed individually for the Village to determine if the Special Use Standards are met and if the Use creates any external impacts i.e., noise, traffic, parking, outdoor play areas. She stated the Village of Gurnee has almost 8,000 pet households that could benefit from a conveniently located facility to accommodate their Pet Day Care and Kennel needs. She stated providing our residents with a facility in a community business district would facilitate the natural growth and progression of the Village.

Chairman Sula stated from his perspective as long as this is for Special Use the Commissions could review the specific criteria and aspects of what would be envisioned and this would be acceptable to him in terms of a Text Amendment.

Chairman Sula asked the Commissions for comments.

Mr. McFarlane concurs with the statement made by Chairman Sula. He stated as each has come before the Commission before that each has required through the Special Use Permit some adjustment because of location which does matter and whether there would be outdoor activities for the pets. He stated within the context of what is being done here and noted there is certainly more and more vacant space and sees the strip centers as a logical place such as next to a pet grooming center. He stated he is comfortable with this.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked for comments from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Twitchell asked if there are outdoor runs for some of the examples such as PetSmart.

Ms. Nastos responded that PetSmart does not have outdoor runs. She noted again, they can board 75 dogs overnight and that there are only 11 spots left for Thanksgiving weekend.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff asked if there are facilities with outdoor runs.

Ms. Nastos replied, yes, there are some but it varies from location to location.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff stated he has seen this done before and knows it can work. He stated he didn’t know if there were any sound restrictions.

Chairman Sula stated they key is Special Use so the Commissions can review the particulars of it.

Pro-tem Chairman Paff stated it makes sense to him.

Mr. Wilson stated it would be beneficial to other businesses if people were coming to bring a pet to a Pet Day Care.

Chairman Sula stated the next time there is a Joint Plan Commission / Zoning Board of Appeals meeting that this should go onto the Agenda.


Chairman Sula asked for motion to adjourn.

Ms. Broughton made a motion, seconded by Ms. Salmons, to adjourn.


The Meeting was adjourned at 9:08 P.M.


Respectfully Submitted:



Joanne Havenhill
Plan Commission Secretary