Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Planning and Zoning Board - May 1, 2013

Village of Gurnee

Planning and Zoning Board Minutes

May 1, 2013

1.  Call to Order and Roll Call

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

Planning & Zoning Board Members present:  Chairman James Sula, Richard McFarlane, Sharon Salmons, Gwen Broughton, David Nordentoft, Richard Twitchell & Edwin Paff

Planning & Zoning Board Members absent:  none

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

2.  Pledge of Allegiance

3.  Public Comment

 Mr. Sula asked if anyone from the public had any questions or comments regarding anything not on the

the evening’s agenda.   As there were no responses, he closed the floor to the public on the matter.

4.  Approval of the Planning and Zoning Board’s April 17, 2013 meeting minutes.

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

Voice vote: 

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

Motion carried:  7-0-0

5.  Final Subdivision Plat: Dilley’s and Grand Planned Unit Subdivision

Ms. Booth stated that the owner of a 6.9-acre parcel located at the northwest corner of Grand Avenue and Dilleys Road is requesting its subdivision into 3 lots. The property is zoned C/B-2 PUD, Community Business District as a Planned Unit Development, and is improved with four building: a Starbuck’s coffee shop, Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, KFC/Long John Silver’s restaurant, and a vacant building that, at one time, housed Krispy Kreme Donuts.  She stated that when the property was developed in 2002, the property owner subjected the buildings to a land lease, and did not subdivide into individual lots.  The owner is now requesting to subdivide the property into three lots: both the Starbuck’s and the KFC/Long John Silver’s would each have its own lot, while the Chuck E. Cheese and the former Krispy Kreme Donuts building would share a lot.  Ms. Booth noted that, as this is an existing development, no further improvements are necessary and that all zoning and subdivision plat requirements are met.

Mr. Sula asked if there were any concerns or questions. 

Mr. Paff asked if there would be any parking available, should anyone want to lease the building that had once housed Krispy Kreme.  Ms. Booth responded that the site was now being leased by Chuck E. Cheese for use as part of its expansion.  Mr. Sula noted that Chuck E. Cheese is now leasing the entire parcel, but—that if anyone requested to use that building and required parking—that party would eventually come before the Board, anyway.  Ms. Velkover added that Krispy Kreme had been over- parked, anyway, and that it’s likely many uses of the building could happen without the tenant needing to appear before the board.  However, if a proposed tenant couldn’t meet the parking requirement, they could come before the Board and request consideration for reduced/shared parking.

Mr. Sula then stated that if there were no more questions, a motion could be made, and—verified with Ms. Booth that this would be a final recommendation.

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion to forward a favorable recommendation on the final plat as submitted; the motion was seconded by Mr. Paff.

Roll Call:

“Ayes”:                         Sula, Paff, Salmons, Nordentoft, McFarlane, Broughton, Twitchell

“Nays”:                         None

Abstain:                        None

Motion Carried:          7-0-0

6.  Public Hearing: Special Use Permit and Minor Special Use Permit Amendment (Wal-Mart)

Ms. Booth gave an overview of the requests made under the Minor Amendment to the Gurnee Mills Special Use Permit (SUP) (Ord. 88-117) for the creation of Lot 2 of the Resubdivision Plat of Block L in Gurnee Mills; they include:

  • the development of an automobile fueling station,
  • a reduction in the overall parking requirements of the subject site, and
  • a redistribution of the wall sign square footage to allow a total of four (4) wall signs.

She noted that the subject site is located at 6570-6590 Grand Avenue (NWC Grand Avenue and Hunt Club Road) and is improved with an 185,000 sq. ft. Wal-Mart store and a 139,000 sq. ft. Sam’s Club.  It is zoned C/B-2, Community Business District with a SUP for a Regional Shopping Center.  The above noted requests have been deemed to constitute minor amendments to the Gurnee Mills SUP by the Zoning Administrator.  Ms. Booth went on to state that a SUP is needed by the fuel station to allow, for underneath the fuel station canopy, an increase in the internal horizontal lighting levels (>14.99 foot candles) and security lighting levels (> 3 foot-candles), and such other relief as may be necessary to accomplish the applicant’s development plan.   Minor SUP amendments require review and approval by the Village Board.  However, due to the size and scope of this project, and the fact that the proposed fuel station requires a SUP for lighting levels underneath the canopy that exceed Village ordinance, staff recommended that the Village Board remand this project for review and recommendation to the Planning and Zoning Board.  The Village Board approved this remand in November, 2012.

 Mr. Sula clarified that the Special Use Permit, because it requires a public hearing, is open for public comment.  He further stated that the Minor SUP amendments do not require a public hearing, only review at a public meeting, and therefore, are not open to public comment.

Mr. Jarmon Peregoy and Mr. Brent Shields, with Carlson Consulting Engineers, Inc., were present on behalf of Wal-Mart Stores Inc./Sam’s Club in regards to the proposed fueling station.   Mr. Shields gave a presentation on the proposed fueling station, which would be located just east of the Grand Avenue entrance, would include 12 pumps, a canopy, and a small kiosk.  He further described the color scheme, landscaping, etc.  He elaborated on the requests, including:

  • parking reduction, which, per an independent parking analysis, would still result in a parking surplus even at peak hours;
  • redistribution of wall signage to accommodate four signs (19 sq. ft. each) at all four corners of the canopy;
  • subdivision of the lot, creating an outparcel for Chik-fil-A (to be addressed at a later meeting); and
  • an increase to the light levels underneath the canopy, both during the day and at nighttime during “security hours” to address customer safety when handling fuel.   

Mr. Shields stated that the subdivision plat is not before the PZB this evening, as there are a couple of issues yet to work out on the plat.  However, this plat would be coming before the PZB for review in the near future.

Mr. Sula asked Board members if there were any questions, comments, etc.

Mr. Twitchell asked if the Special Use Permit and Minor Amendments would be addressed separately.  Mr. Sula explained that, while Mr. Shields’ presentation was in regards to both, the Special Permit and the Minor Amendment would have to be voted on separately.  Thus, two separate motions would have to be made.

Mr. Nordentoft asked staff if these foot-candle readings were similar to those existing in fuel stations within the Village.  Ms. Booth stated that other fuel stations have requested and received SUPs for similar lighting levels underneath canopies.  Ms. Velkover noted that staff has discussed proposing modifications to the ordinance to allow higher foot-candle readings under service station canopies in the interest of customer safety.      

Mr. Sula pointed out that the location in question is at one of the busiest intersections in town, and--as it is completely surrounded by retail establishments—did not feel it would not negatively impact any residential properties. 

Mr. Sula opened the floor to the public.  As there were no comments or questions, he then closed the matter to the public.     

Mr. Twitchell expressed concern over the planned use of Crimson King Maples in the landscaping, as they create dense, dark leaves that block sunlight and hinder the growth of grass.  He asked that another type of tree be considered.  He also asked that the size of shrubs be included on the plans, and not just the size of the containers that they come in, in order to ensure they are up to the American Nursery and Landscaping Association standards.  He stated that he is pleased that all plant materials included on the plans are salt-tolerant, which is a good choice for landscaped areas around parking lots. 

Mr. Sula stated that, unless there are further questions or discussion, a motion should be made on the requests.

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to forward a favorable recommendation for the Special Use Permit to allow the horizontal light levels underneath the service station canopy to be increased as requested.

Roll Call Vote:

"Ayes":                               Sula, Paff, Salmons, Nordentoft, McFarlane, Broughton, Twitchell

"Nays":                               None

Abstaining:                         None

Motion Carried:                 7-0-0

Mr. Paff made a motion, seconded by Mr. Nordentoft, to forward a favorable recommendation for the Minor Amendments to the Gurnee Mills’ SUP to further allow the development of the site with a fueling station, reduce the number of parking spaces, and redistribute wall sign area among more than 2 wall signs.

Roll Call:

“Ayes”:                         Sula, Paff, Salmons, Nordentoft, McFarlane, Broughton, Twitchell

“Nays”:                         None

Abstain:                        None

Motion Carried:          7-0-0     

7.  Minor Amendment: Minor Special Use Permit Amendment (Chick-fil-A Restaurant)

Ms. Booth stated that Chick-fil-A is requesting a Minor Amendment to the Gurnee Mills Special Use Permit, Ord. 88-117, to allow the development of a restaurant with a drive- thru; the removal and replacement of trees within the 50 foot buffer yard along Grand Avenue and Hunt Club Road; the redistribution of wall sign area into a total of four (4) wall signs; and wall sign letter height to exceed 36 inches.  The subject site is located at the NWC Grand Avenue and Hunt Club Road, on proposed Lot 2 of the Resubdivision Plat of Block L in Gurnee Mills, and is zoned C/B-2, Community Business District with a SUP for a Regional Shopping Center.

Mr. Joe Vavrina of HRGreen gave a presentation on the proposed project in which he highlighted details of the plans for restaurant itself, the landscaping, and the drive-thru area:  

  • The building will be orientated north-south (front will be facing towards Grand Avenue)
  • There will be outdoor seating (in front of the indoor “play area” towards the front of the building)
  • Eliminating the ring-road through the Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club site that has parking spaces that back out onto
  • On-site circulation with 62 90-degree parking spaces that are isolated from the drive-thru
  • Substantial “stacking” in drive-thru, including dual lanes through the order area that merge into a single lane before reaching the building
  • Heavily-screened trash area (evergreens)
  • Landscaping interior to the lot
  • Removing trees along Hunt Club, as well as a few along Grand, to increase visibility/presence as this is a new market for Chik-fil-A
  • Minimal signage
  • All-brick building

Mr. Sula sought to clear up some confusion over the proposed landscaping; he asked for verification that the plans call for the required 50-foot buffer to remain on the property. 

Ms. Booth stated that this is correct.  She further explained that the existing Sam’s/Wal-Mart site (parking lot) is situated approximately 150 feet west of Hunt Club Road and that Chik-fil-A will be developing approximately 100 feet into the existing setback.  However, she stated that they are maintaining the required 50-foot setback to Hunt Club Road.

Mr. Twitchell stated that he appreciated the utilization of low-key signage in the plans.  He also asked that more salt-tolerant foliage be considered in the plans, especially around the trash area.  He expressed specific concern about the use of arborvitae around the trash enclosure as this material will draw attention to the area.  He also inquired about plans for snow removal on the property.

Mr. Vavrina responded by stating that snow is usually hauled off their restaurant sites by local contractors.  Otherwise, they are able to plow snow onto the Sam’s/Wal-Mart site as the perimeter parking spaces are never utilized.

Mr. Twitchell then asked why there is seemingly a mismatch between the lighting fixtures in the parking lot and the sconces on the wall of the building.

Mr. Vavrina stated that the fixture proposed for the building is what Chik-fil-A customarily uses on their properties.  It is their standard fixture and thought best for balance and appearance.   He also noted that these fixtures more closely match the shoebox fixtures found in the parking lot of Sam’s Club/Wal-Mart.

Mr. Twitchell expressed concern over the use of stamped concrete in the crosswalk over the drive-thru lane, stating that such material, especially when wet, is too slippery and could create a potential liability.  He also stated that he feels the layout of the drive-thru is somewhat convoluted.  He expressed concern that the drive-thru doesn’t have an escape lane and that there is no clear-cut, simple, safe exit from the drive-thru. 

Mr. Sula asked if he had any suggestions for improvement, and Mr. Twitchell stated that he’d rather have less parking and a safer egress than have several drives all exiting into rather sharp corners that do not lead directly out to the access drive, but instead into the parking lot.   He stated that it might be better to bring the drive-thru lane further north and eliminate the 4 parking spaces in that area.

Mr. Sula and Mr. McFarlane both felt that if the drive-thru exit lane headed straight west to the ring road, and the access drive to the north was eliminated, no parking would need to be eliminated, but instead, swapped out.  Mr. McFarlane also stated that there would then be a right-turn entrance into the parking lot, and a straight shot out of the drive-thru.

Ms. Velkover stated that there may be some concern over pushing the entrance/exit to the south, since it is further into the curve of the ring road. 

Mr. McFarlane suggested that, perhaps, the entrance/exit could be connected at a 90 degree angle with the curve.

Mr. Sula suggested that if the exit from the drive-thru was an extended all the way west to the ring road, and –with the dumpsters--created a corral of sorts, there would be a good space created for employees to park to the north.

Mr. Vavrina stated that plans were made in consideration of deliveries that would be made, as well.

Mr. Sula stated felt that this entrance/exit issue could be resolved by having staff work with the Village’s traffic consultant.

Mr. Twitchell reiterated his concern that there isn’t a bypass lane.  He stated that he couldn’t think of any business in the area that did not have such as escape lane.

Ms. Velkover stated that currently the Zoning Ordinance does not require a by-pass lane.  She pointed out that there are some drive-thru businesses in town that do not have a by-pass lane.  One such business is the Wendy’s in front of Target.  She also noted that because this development requires a minor amendment to the Gurnee Mills Special Use Permit, the issue with the by-pass lane is something that can be reviewed.

Mr. Vavrina added that most of their sites do not include a by-pass lane. 

Mr. McFarlane asked about the landscaping; in regards removing vegetation in the buffer yard in order to increase visibility to the restaurant.   He also asked why they are proposing such a large monument sign on the berm since there will already be four signs along the sides of the building.  Mr. Vavrina stated that the sign is needed to pick up the traffic coming down Grand before approaching the stoplight, as the building will sit behind a berm.

Mr. Sula pointed out that there would still be some landscaping in the buffer yards. 

Mr. McFarlane felt they were more shrubs, not trees left in the buffer yard. 

Mr. Paff stated he felt the business needed visibility, and that a monument sign was a better way to provide such visibility than for a business to tear down shrubbery.  He and Mr. Sula expressed concern that, perhaps, greenery may have started to obstruct visibility certain in areas, and that businesses rely on visibility to thrive.

Mr. Nordentoft expressed his approval of the proposed plans, felt the requests were reasonable, and praised the tasteful and minimal signage.

Mr. Sula stated that, unless there were any more questions/discussion, a motion would be in order.     

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to forward a favorable recommendation for the Minor Amendment to the Gurnee Mills Special Use Permit to allow for the development of restaurant with a drive-thru, the removal and replacement of trees within the 50 foot buffer yard, the redistribution of wall sign area, and the increase in the sign letter height. 

Mr. Sula suggested that the motion include a request to review plans in regards to the egress of the drive-thru area and ask that the use of more salt-tolerant foliage in the project be considered.  Mr. Nordentoft added to his motion accordingly.  Mr. Twitchell inquired as to what might happen if such requests were not considered; for instance, if modifications to egress were not made.  While Mr. Winter and Mr. Sula stated they felt the requests would be given considerable attention, they both confirmed that it was a motion to recommend a favorable recommendation to approve the plan as submitted that was being voted on.

Roll Call Vote:

"Ayes":                                 Sula, Paff, Salmons, Nordentoft, Broughton,

"Nays":                                 McFarlane, Twitchell

Abstaining:                         None

Motion Carried:                5-2-0

8.  Next Meeting Date:  May 15, 2013

9.  Adjournment

Chairman Sula asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. 

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

Voice vote: 

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

Motion carried:   7-0-0

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joann Metzger
Planning and Zoning Board Secretary