Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Planning and Zoning Board - October 17, 2012

Village of Gurnee

Plan Commission Minutes

October 17, 2012


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, Sharon Salmons, Edwin Paff (arrived at 7:35 p.m.) and Gwenn 
     Broughton (arrived at 7:40 p.m.) 

     Plan Commission Members absent:  none 

    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.  Approval of Plan Commission Meeting Minutes for September 5, 2012.

Due to a technical issue, Chairman Sula stated that approval of the September 5th meeting minutes would be deferred until the next meeting.  

5.  Review of a Business Park Identification Sign for Grand Tri-State Business Park (intersection of Grand and Tri-State Parkway)

     The Grand Tri-State Business Park is seeking approval of a business park identification sign at the southwest corner of Grand Avenue and Tri-State Parkway.  Per the Village Sign Ordinance, business park identification signs are subject to the PZB review and approval via the minor exception process.

     Ms. Velkover stated that a business park identification sign was approved for the southwest corner of    

Grand Avenue and Tri-State Parkway when the Grand Tri-State Business Park was created in the last 80’s (the sign was actually a feature within the decorative pond on this corner).  Although this property is not part of the business park, an easement was granted for the sign.  The sign existed for over 25 years, but was removed approximately 2 years ago.  The business park has been working on a new sign since. 

In 2008, a new sign ordinance was adopted that did not provide specific standards for business park identification signs (in regards to size, height, number, etc.), as it was deemed too difficult to create standards that would be appropriate for all the potential applications of these signs.  Instead, it was decide that the approval of such signage should require review on a case-by-case basis by the PZB via the minor exception process. 

     Mr. Rob Elbrecht, with Grand Tri-State Business Park, stated that he is seeking approval of a business park identification sign for the southwest corner of Grand Avenue and Tri-State
     Parkway, within the sign easement.   Because there are no standards for business park identification signs, staff provided Mr. Elbrecht with the standards for a ground signs on 
     office/industrial properties.  These standards are as follows:

  • Monument style
  • Maximum height of 10 feet
  • Maximum size for a screened box sign (which is the type proposed) of 75 sq. ft.
  • Minimum letter height allowed on the sign of 8 inches
  • Sign must contain the property’s address (also 8” minimum)
  • Landscaping around the base of the sign, equal to the size of the sign, must be installed.
  • 12 foot setback 

 The proposed sign is a monument style sign that is 10’10” tall and 18.25 sq. ft. per sign panel.  Since the faces of the sign are not parallel or within 30 degrees of being parallel, both panels are counted in determining the size of the sign.  Therefore, the sign is actually 36.5 sq. ft.  All of the letter heights on the sign exceed 8” (G in Grand is 10” tall and the B is Business is 8.25” tall).  The sign doesn’t contain the address of the business park due to the number of addresses within the business park (it would become cluttered).  A landscape plan is being prepared that will comply with the requirement for free-standing signs.  The sign will be setback 13 feet from property lines, as shown on the enclosed site plan. 

The proposed business park ID sign complies with the standards for ground signs on office/industrial properties, with the exception that the sign is 10 inches taller than the 10 foot allowance and the sign will not contain the addresses within the business park.  

Ms. Velkover stated that the Board may approve a minor exception only if the members find that the request is consistent with the stated purpose of the sign regulations.   Ms. Velkover noted that the stated purpose or the Village’s sign regulations was included in the PZB packets. 

Chairman Sula reiterated that this matter is up for approval or denial by the Board, and that it is not subject to recommendation to the Village Board. 

Chairman Sula then stated that there were two major issues to this matter:  the height of the sign (specifically, the height of the lighted globe on the sign) and the fact that the sign doesn’t contain the park’s address.  In regards to the lighted globe, he asked Ms. Velkover if there were any issues involving lighting ordinances. 

Ms. Velkover stated that the lighting of this sign would have to meet the requirements of the lighting ordinance, and that it would be reviewed when the petitioner submitted the lighting details.  

Nordentoft questioned the size of the sign.  He indicated that the information on their drawings shows a different size than what staff has indicated in the notes.  

Ms. Velkover explained that the petitioner’s size reflects the size of the entire sign panel.  However, per the sign code, the area of screened box signs is measured directly around the message area.  She noted that this was determined to be the method for calculating the size of these types of signs because the background is opaque and therefore, doesn't illuminate.  The only area that illuminates is the routed out message. 

Mr. Twitchell asked if the sign would meet requirements in regards to the setbeck of signs on Grand Avenue. 

 Ms. Velkover stated that, per the provided site plan, it would. 

Salmons asked what material is used for the lighted globe on the end of the sign.  She expressed concern about vandals breaking the globe and then it becoming unsightly.  

Mr. Elbrecht checked the drawing and stated that the globe is made of plexi-glass.  He stated that plexi-glass is usually pretty strong, but that he would have to talk to the sign contractor.  He stated that they are cognizant of durability issues given the potential for snow, ice, and rocks to be thrown at the sign during winter plowing months. 

Mr. Twitchell concurred that today’s plexi-glass is very durable. 

Chairman Sula asked if there were any other comments on the matter, and--if not--for a motion to be made. 

A motion to approve the sign was made by Mr. Nordentoft, and seconded by Ms. Salmons:  

      Roll Call Vote:

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

       "Nayes":                        None

       Abstain:                          None

       Motion Carried:            7-0-0

6.  Approval of the Planning and Zoning Board’s 2013 meeting schedule

      Chairman Sula stated that, with adjustments made for the months of July and September (due to Holidays), the schedule is similar to that in the past--with meetings scheduled for the 
      first and third Wednesday of every month. 

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

      Voice Vote:

      All "Ayes", no "Nayes", none abstaining

      Motion carried 7-0-0 

7.  Open Meetings Act Training Reminder

      Chairman Sula stated that he is pleased to announce that everyone is now in compliance with the Open Meetings Act Training.     

8.  Next Meeting Date:  November 7, 2012

9.  Adjournment:

      Chairman Sula asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting.  

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

      Voice vote: 

      All "Ayes", no "Nayes", none abstaining

      Motion carried 7-0-0


The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.


Respectfully Submitted, 


Joann Metzger
Planning and Zoning Board Secretary