Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Planning and Zoning Board - January 2, 2013


Village of Gurnee

Planning and Zoning Board Minutes

January 2, 2013


1.  Call to Order and Roll Call

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m.

Plan Commission Members present:  Chairman James Sula, Richard McFarlane, David Nordentoft, Richard Twitchell, & Edwin Paff

Plan Commission Members absent:  Sharon Salmons and Gwen Broughton  

Other Officials present:  Tracy Velkover, Planning Manager                                                                    

2.  Pledge of Allegiance 

3.  Public Comment 

 Chairman Sula asked if anyone from the public had any questions or comments for anything that is not on this evening’s agenda.  As there were no responses, Chairman Sula closed the floor to the public on this matter. 

4.  a)  Approval of the Planning and Zoning Board’s December 5, 2012 meeting minutes 

A motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. Nordentoft, and seconded by Mr. Paff. 

Voice vote: 

      All "Ayes", no "Nays", none abstaining

      Motion carried:  5-0-0 

b)  Approval of the Planning and Zoning Board’s December 19, 2012 meeting minutes. 

A motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. McFarlane, and seconded by Mr. Nordentoft. 

Voice vote: 

      All "Ayes", no "Nays", none abstaining

      Motion carried:  5-0-0 

5.  Minor Sign Modification:  4949 Grand Avenue (Beau Monde Shoes) 

Ms. Velkover stated that Mr. Ken Fogel, sign contractor with North Shore Sign Company, is representing the owner of Beau Monde Shoes in the request for a minor modification to the sign ordinance.  She noted that the owner of Beau Monde Shoes is moving his business from Pembrook Corners (NEC of Lawson Boulevard and Grand Avenue) to Grand Mills Plaza (SWC of Grand Avenue and Milwaukee Avenue), and--the owner would like to move his existing wall sign (an individual channel letter sign attached to a raceway) to this center.  The width of the sign is 80% of the width of the storefront, and--as sign code limits the width of wall signs to a maximum of 70% the width of a storefront--the owner is seeking a minor modification to allow the sign in question to exceed the width allowed by code.

 Ms. Velkover stated that nearly all of the businesses in Grand Mills Plaza have box signs as their wall signs.   When new businesses move into this center they simply insert a new Lexan (resin) panel into the existing box structure above the storefront.  These sign structures have been there for years and will continue to be used until business owners either voluntarily replace with another sign type (i.e. Beau Monde Shoes) or the box structures fall into disrepair and must be removed.   "Grandfathering" allows businesses to reuse existing box sign panels, even if the box frame no longer complies with the existing code.  She also noted that box signs, per the Village’s sign code, are the lowest quality of  sign that a business can install.  

Chairman Sula stated that the proposed individual channel letter sign on a raceway is a higher quality sign and greater leeway is generally provided when the request is to  accommodate a higher quality sign.  He also noted that the Board has the decision-making authority in this matter, so the Board would either approve the request or not; it would not be a recommendation that is forwarded to the Village Board for decision. 

Mr. Fogel introduced himself and stated that it is the business owner's intent to create a more upscale look, so rather than simply swapping out the face of the sign the owner is seeking to remove the channel lettering from the sign at the business’s old location and remount these letters on a new raceway that will be painted to match the existing façade.   He stated that this is a more expensive route than swapping out the panel on the existing box sign, but it creates the upscale look desired by the business owner.

 Mr. McFarlane questioned how close would the actual sign would look to the rendering on the submitted plan.

 Mr. Fogel replied that it would be identical.

 Mr. Nordentoft expressed concern over possible fading behind the box sign that may be noticeable once the box sign is removed.  This concern was also expressed by Chairman Sula and Mr. Paff.  It was suggested that Mr. Fogel discuss this matter with the business owner.  Mr. McFarlane added that it could be discussed with the owner of the property as well. He noted that repairs (i.e., repainting of the fascia) could be completed by the property owner for the new tenant.

Ms. Velkover stated that she can talk to the owner in regards to this issue. 

Mr. Nordentoft stated that he hopes that the use of an individual channel letter sign will set a precedent for other business owners in the center.  Chairman Sula expressed that he, too, hopes this will set a precedent for future signage in this center/area.

Mr. Twitchell asked how the sign would be lighted, as the existing box signs are internally lit. 

Mr. Fogel responded that the letters of the new sign would be internally lit. 

 Chairman Sula reiterated that the Board has decision-making authority on this matter, and stated that--while it appears Board members are in favor of the petitioner's request--encouragement should be made for the petitioner to rectify any mismatched coloring of façade due to fading.

A motion to approve the minor sign modification to allow Beau Monde Shoes to install an individual channel  letter sign mounted on a raceway that exceeds the allowed sign width, as presented, was made by Mr. Nordentoft, and seconded by Mr. McFarlane. 

      Roll Call Vote:

     "Ayes":                           Twitchell, Nordentoft, Paff, McFarlane, & Sula

      "Nays":                           None

      Abstain:                         None

      Motion Carried:          5-0-0

6.  Next Meeting Date:  January 16, 2013

Ms. Velkover stated that a presentation of the Technical Review Report will be provided by the Village’s consultant for the Zoning Ordinance update.  In addition, a summary of the comments/questions received from the public workshop will be provided. 

 7.  Adjournment: 

Chairman Sula asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. 

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Twitchell. 

     Voice vote: 

     All "Ayes", no "Nays", none abstaining

     Motion carried:   5-0-0 

The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joann Metzger
Planning and Zoning Board Secretary


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