Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Planning and Zoning Board - November 6, 2013

Village of Gurnee

Planning and Zoning Board Minutes

November 6, 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, David Nordentoft, Richard Twitchell, David Ohanian, Sharon Salmons & Edwin Paff

Planning & Zoning Board Members absent:  none

Other Officials present:  Bryan Winter, Village Attorney; 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 evening’s agenda.   As there were no responses, Chairman Sula closed the floor to the public on the matter.

4.  Approval of the Planning and Zoning Board’s September 11, 2013 meeting minutes.

A motion to approve the September 11, 2013 meeting minutes was made by Mr. Ohanian, seconded by Ms. Salmons.

Voice Vote:  all "Ayes," no "Nays," none abstaining

Motion Carried:  7-0-0 

Chairman Sula pointed out that the next two items on the agenda were related.  He stated that the two items can be presented together, but--after the presentation--two separate motions would need to be made.  The motion made on the Special Use Permits would be for the purpose of forwarding a recommendation to the Village Board.  The motion made in regards to the Minor Sign Exceptions would be to approve or deny them, as such decisions are to be made by the PZB.     

5.  Public Hearing:  Special Use Permits & Special Use Permit – Major Amendment (350 N. Hunt Club Road)

Dixit Patel is requesting the following items: 1) Special Use Permit to allow the establishment of a drive-thru restaurant; 2) Major Amendment to a Special Use Permit (Ord. 2004-49) to allow 153 square feet of illuminated LED tubing on a service station canopy; 3) Special Use Permit to allow a menu board sign to be larger than 36 square feet; and 4) Such other relief as may be necessary to accomplish the applicant’s development plan. The subject parcel is located at 350 Hunt Club Road (NWC Hunt Club & Washington) and is zoned C/B-2, Community Business District.

6.  Minor Sign Exception: Dixit Patel (350 N. Hunt Club Road)

Dixit Patel is requesting the following Minor Exceptions: 1) To allow the LED on the south canopy edge to exceed 70% of the canopy length; 2) To allow a directional sign to exceed the 3 foot mounting height; 3) To allow a multi-tenant ground sign to not have 40% of the sign area devoted to the center’s name and address; and 4) To allow a menu board sign to be located closer than 75 feet to a residential zoning district. The subject parcel is located at 350 N. Hunt Club Road (NWC Hunt Club & Washington) and is zoned C/B-2, Community Business District.

Ms. Booth stated that the subject site is located on 1.7 acres at the northwest corner of Washington and Hunt Club Road and contains an existing BP Amoco service station and car wash.  The property is zoned C/B-2, Community Business District, and was previously subject to an Annexation Agreement.  Due to the 20 year statute of limitations for annexations, this agreement expired in September of this year.  However, the C/B-2 zoning remains in effect, as does all previously issued special use permits, which allowed the car wash, outdoor storage and sales area, increase to the internal lighting levels, additional shade trees along Washington Street, and signage that totals 400 sq. ft. excluding the ground sign and subject to the LED tubing on the building and service station being non-illuminated.

Chairman Sula asked that those planning to speak on this matter would need to be sworn in.  Village Attorney Bryan Winter reiterated, stating that anyone who is even considering speaking should stand up and be sworn in; he then proceeded with the swearing-in.

Mr. Mark Patasik, of Parent Petroleum, stated he would represent Mr. Patel and speak on his behalf in presenting the business and marketing elements of the facility.  He introduced Lester Arnold, Mr. Patel's attorney, Eric Carlson, architect with Eric Carlson Architects & Planners, and several managers of Mr. Patel's business.

Mr. Patasik proceeded with a project overview, stating that the project was a raze and rebuild of a new building that would include a gas station and c-store (convenience store) as well as a Dunkin' Donuts, and--in the future, a quick-service lunch restaurant.  He stressed that the project was a matter of "economic survival" for the business' owner and explained that the downfall of the business was due not only to increased competition in the area, but a "failed experiment" by oil companies; facilities were built to be operated by an oil company, but--later divested and sold to individual owners.

Mr. Patasik also stressed that Mr. Patel would be investing over a million dollars with this project.   He described the layout of the site, stressing that many issues brought up by staff have been addressed.  In particular, he stated that the proposed drive-through would accommodate at least eight vehicles, and that there would be about a 90-second wait period for drivers approaching the menu board to leaving the drive-through.  He noted that a traffic study conducted by a traffic engineer hired by the Village seems to "bear out" compatibility with the intersection on which the site is located. 

Mr. Carlson explained the floor plan for the new building.  He stated that staff did not have any issues with the floor plan, and gave a brief description; higher-end products and new Dunkin' Donuts branding elements would be included in its design to help modernize and upgrade the property, and it would have two entrances--one to c-store, and another between the two restaurants.  He also stated that the trash enclosure will be rebuilt to match building, and that landscaping would include replacing dead/diseased trees with new ones that would also provide screening.  In regards to signage, he stressed that the petitioner has worked hard with staff to comply with standards set in 2009 sign ordinance for creating a master sign plan that allows for franchise brand recognition, but that in considering the four elements of compliance--common colors, common lettering, common lettering size, and common materials--compatibility with colors and font styles would prove to be a challenge as there would be several brands involved.  He stated that the petitioner welcomes any suggestions.  He also gave description of the signage, focusing on the directional signs and the monument sign shared to accommodate all tenants; there had been concern over lack of consistency in the signs.

A summary of the signs is as follows:

  • A completely new ground sign that meets the height, size, and maximum number of tenant panels allowed by code.  There are 4 panels to the sign, with 3 panels being a box sign and one panel a screened box sign.  The sign doesn’t contain 40% of the area for the project name and address and a minor exception is requested for this.
  • 153 feet of illuminated LED tubing is proposed on the edge of the gas station canopy (21’ on the east wall and 132’ on the south wall), which requires a special use permit.  The length of the LED, on the south wall, also exceeds the 70% of the wall length standard in the sign code, which can be approved as a minor exception.
  • The following new wall signs (all individual channel letter signs on a raceway) are proposed on the service station:

South wall:                 Dunkin Donut & logo  34 sq. ft.
                                 Food Plaza                  17 sq. ft.
                                 Unknown Tenant         *
East wall:                   Dunkin Donut & logo: 48 sq. ft.
                                 Unknown Tenant        *

*Since this tenant is unknown, the owner is proposing to stay within the 400 sq. ft. total signage allowed by the existing sign SUP

  • A directional sign (box) on the south wall of 2.75 sq. ft. provides direction into the drive-thru.  The sign code allows this sign to be mounted at a height of 3 feet, so a minor exception is required to allow its 9.5 foot mounting height.  Another directional sign, directing patrons to the drive-thru, is proposed as a free-standing sign near the southeast corner of the building.  This 2.75 sq. ft. two-sided sign meets all the requirements of the sign code. 
  • A menu board is proposed on the north building wall, which is approximately 25 feet from the residential zone to the north.  The location, within 75 feet of a residential zone, and the size, in excess of 36 sq. ft., does not meet code.  The location can be addressed through the minor exception process.  To approve the menu board sign, at the proposed size, requires a special use permit. 
  • The total area of all of the signs is 327.5 sq. ft, not including the area for the 2 unknown tenants on the building wall.  This also does not include the ground sign area, per the special use permit language.  Therefore, 72.5 of signage would remain for the remaining 2 “unknown” signs.

Chairman Sula asked if there were any comments or questions from the board.

Mr. Ohanian asked how customers approaching from Hunt Club Road would be prevented from backing up onto Hunt Club Road.  He stated that the planned striping would not followed by motorist, and felt an island or curb would be in order. 

Mr. Carlson responded that he didn't feel it would be an issue, as--due to the fast turnover in servicing customers at Dunkin' Donuts--stacking of vehicles is not likely to happen that often.  He also stated that the Village’s traffic consultant indicated that it might be best to try the striping and then, if problems develop, move on to requiring the installation of curbing to direct motorist into the drive-thru lane.

However, Mr. Sula stated that staff would have to intervene if it were to become an issue, and suggested that it may be best to simply include an island in the plans.  

Mr. Ohanian also had issue with lighting, and asked about a cut-off angle; his concern is that residents may be bothered by the lighting.  Mike Knead, the Construction Manager for Dunkin' Donuts, stated that the cut-off fixture specs would be provided.  However, Ms. Booth stated that such information is included in the packet (listed as a "wall sconce") and Mr. Sula and Ms. Velkover pointed out that petitioner is not asking for any departures to lighting.  The Village’s lighting ordinance, which requires a maximum of a 70 degree cut-off angle, would have to be met.  Also, no change to the station’s canopy lighting is proposed.

Ms. Salmons asked why the LED around the outside of the canopy was needed.  She also questioned whether this lighting would reflect to the neighborhood.

Mr. Patasik responded that LED is a visibility and marketing issue, and that the lighting would not reflect to the neighborhood.  LED is much less intense (bright) than the old neon version.

Mr. Twitchell felt that the traffic pattern was "convoluted" enough on this site, and does not support the installation of a curb to direct motorist into the drive-thru lane, unless it is absolutely necessary.   He stated that he like the drive-through as it is being proposed.  However, he does not like the high directional sign on the southeast corner of the building as he feels this is out of style with the rest of the signage (i.e., this is a box sign and the rest of the wall signs are individual channel letter signs on a raceway).  He also feels that this sign is redundant with a similar ground directional sign in the immediate area that also directs customers to the drive-thru lane. 

Ms. McFarlane felt the wall directional sign was needed to simply let potential customers from further away know that there was, in fact, a drive-thru associated with the business. 

Mr. Twitchell also expressed concern over traffic at the intersection and how difficult it is to get in and out of this site when heading east. 

Mr. Sula pointed out that the traffic is an existing condition and that the site already is improved with a service station and convenience store with a food establishment.

Mr. Twitchell indicated that he felt the project may add to the existing problem.  He also stated that landscaping plans should include the size of plants/trees--not just the size of the containers they are supplied in.  He suggested that the plantings in front of menu board be salt-tolerant. 

Mr. Nordentoft express concern over the marriage of existing BP canopy to the new building, as they utilize different materials and styles.  While he understands the concern brands have over coloring, he questions why continuity in colors is a visual concern.  He also stated that he disagrees with the applicant about the LED tubing on the canopy being necessary to give notice of the presence of the gas station. 

Mr. Patasik asked if it would be more acceptable for colors to blend into the building. 

Mr. Paff countered that he believes the plan, as proposed, is more attractive than the existing building/situation. He stressed the need for the use of color in brand recognition. 

Mr. McFarlane suggested the petitioner first try the striping, as opposed to installation of a curb/island, to prevent congestion on-site.  He also recommended trading out the wall directional sign (box/button sign), installing a small sign near the Hunt Club Road entrance stating "DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION."  He stated that the LED tube lighting is distraction, and questioned the monument sign being fully illuminated.  He prefers subtlety in the plans.    

Ms. Velkover pointed out that the applicant has amended their ground sign proposal to reflect ¾ of the face being a box sign and ¼ being a screened box sign.  Prior to this evening, the sign was proposed as ¾ screened box and ¼ box.  She indicated staff was merely trying to get the petitioner to have a consistent approach to this ground sign; either all box or all screened box.  As a screened box sign is a higher quality sign, she noted that staff was hoping the applicant would convert the panel that was a box panel to a screened box panel.  Instead, they have done the opposite; the sign still contains a mix of styles (box and screened box) and they have moved to a majority of the sign being a lower quality sign.

Mr. Sula expressed concerned over conflicting traffic patterns within the in-out of the drive-thru.  He suggested that a sidewalk on the north end of driveway would create a safer pedestrian pattern. 

Mr. Sula then opened floor to public.

Pat Kuebker, 17112 W. Washington Street, expressed concerned over noise from the property (i.e.,  the car wash's buzzer, radio playing from a sound system on the property, and noise made from garbage collection).  He also inquired as to what kind of restaurant is being proposed in addition to the Dunkin' Donuts, and what the hours of operation are for both restaurants.  He also asked why the sign for the car wash needs to be illuminated. 

Larry Swinen, representing Lakewood Evangelical Free Church at 440 N. Hunt Club Road, state that while he feels the Dunkin' Donuts would be good for the church gathering, he was concerned about the safety of increased foot traffic and use of the sidewalk by children walking and biking in the area.   

Mr. Sula then closed floor to public.

Mr. Sula and Ms. Velkover confirmed that issues of noise would be looked into to determine if any ordinances are being violated.  Mr. Winter noted that the Village has adopted Illinois standards in regards to noise. 

Mr. Patel stated that the Dunkin' Donuts would be open 24 hours a day, but noted that it was busiest in the morning.  Most of the overnight hours are used for prep and cleaning.  As for the second restaurant, Mr. Patasik stated that it would have to be a restaurant serving lunch, as there would likely be a requirement from Dunkin' Donuts that no direct competitors be allowed. 

Mr. Patel offered that the speakers currently installed on the property would no longer be used.  He also stated that he would agree to examine garbage pickup and schedule for later mornings.

Ms. Velkover pointed out that a restaurant, Wild Burro, has been associated with the service station for years.

Mr. Ohanian asked if the microphone from the menu board would disturb neighbors.

Mr. Patasik stated that it could be monitored, and the petitioner would adjust accordingly. 

Mr. Sula again stated that the first matter, regarding the Special Use Permits, is a public hearing. 

Mr. McFarlane inquired about the "buzzer" of the car wash on the property, and what kind of noise it may make.

Mr. Patasik stated that he will look into it.  Staff would also follow up on this issue with the property owner.

Mr. McFarlane made a motion to forward a favorable recommendation on the petition for a special use to allow the establishment of a drive-thru restaurant and the petition for a special use permit to allow a menu board to be larger than 36 sq. ft. and an unfavorable recommendation on the request for 153 feet of illuminated LED tubing for the service station canopy, subject to the following conditions:

  1.  Striping be installed to direct patrons into the drive-thru lane and that, should a problem develop in regards to traffic circulation into the drive-thru, that the property owner is required to install curbing, in accordance with the plan provided in the traffic report, upon request by the Village;
  2. That no more than one breakfast/morning peak restaurant be located on the property; and
  3. Examine the possibility of relocating the sidewalk that crosses the right-in/right-out along Hunt Club Road so that it crosses only the drive thru lane before connecting into the sidewalk along the east side of the building.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Nordentoft. 

Mr. Paff stated that he wasn't sure if there was room for sidewalk on the north side of the site.

Mr. Winter explained that staff would have to follow up on the matter. 

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes:  Paff, Twitchell, Salmons, McFarlane, Nordentoft

Nays:  Ohanian, Sula

Abstain:  none

Motion Carried:  5-2-0

Mr. Sula and Mr. Ohanian both stated that their “nay” vote was due to the absence of a curb directing motorist to the drive-thru with the initial improvements.

Mr. Sula then asked for motion on the Minor Sign Exception request, conferring with Mr. Winter that should be four separate votes on the matter.

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion that the request to allow the LED tubing to exceed 70% of the canopy length be denied.  This motion was seconded by Mr. McFarlane.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes:  Twitchell, Salmons, Ohanian, McFarlane, Nordentoft

Nays:  Paff, Sula

Abstain:  none

Motion Carried:  5-2-0

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion to deny the additional mounting height requested for the box directional sign on the southeast corner of the building.  This motion was seconded by Ms. Salmons

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes:  Twitchell, Salmons, McFarlane, Nordentoft

Nays:  Paff, Ohanian, Sula

Abstain:  none

Motion Carried:  4-3-0

Mr.  Nordentoft made a motion to allow a multi-tenant ground sign to not have 40 percent of its area devoted to the name and address of the center.  This motion was seconded by Mr. McFarlane.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes:  Paff, Twitchell, Salmons, Ohanian, McFarlane, Nordentoft, Sula

Nays:  none

Abstain:  none

Motion Carried:  7-0-0

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion to approve a menu board to be closer than 75 feet to a residential zoning district.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Ohanian.

Roll Call Vote:

Ayes:  Paff, Twitchell, Salmons, Ohanian, McFarlane, Nordentoft, Sula

Nays:  none

Abstain:  none

Motion Carried:  7-0-0

7.  Approval of the Planning and Zoning Board’s 2014 Meeting Schedule

Mr. Sula stated that a motion to approve the PZB’s 2014 meeting schedule would be in order.

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

Voice vote: 

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

Motion carried:   7-0-0

8.  Next Meeting Date:  November 20, 2013

9.  Adjournment

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion to adjourn the meeting; seconded by Mr. Ohanian.

Voice vote: 

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

Motion carried:   7-0-0

The meeting was adjourned at 8:46 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joann Metzger


Planning and Zoning Board Secretary