Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Planning and Zoning Board - November 7, 2012


Village of Gurnee

Planning & Zoning Board Minutes

November 7, 2012


 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, Edwin Paff, and Gwen Broughton

Planning & Zoning Board Members absent:  Sharon Salmons

Other Officials present:  Bryan Winter, Village Attorney; Tracy Velkover, Planning Manager; Molly Booth, Associate Planner; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner

2.  Pledge of Allegiance

3.  Public Comment

Chairman Sula asked the Public for any questions or comments for anything that is not on the evening’s agenda.  As there were no responses, Chairman Sula closed the floor to the Public on this item.

4.  a.  Approval of Planning & Zoning Board Meeting Minutes for September 5, 2012.

Mr. McFarlane made a motion, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to approve the minutes of the September 5, 2012 meeting    

Voice Vote:  All "Ayes", no "Nays", none Abstaining

Motion Carried:  6-0-0

b. Approval of Planning & Zoning Board Meeting Minutes for October 17, 2012.

Mr. Sula stated that at the bottom of the second page he is identified as "Chair", though--he should have been identified as "Chairman".

Mr. Nordentoft made a motion, seconded by Mr. McFarlane, to approve the minutes of the October 17, 2012 meeting as amended:     

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

          Motion Carried:  6-0-0

5.  Public Hearing: Special Use Permit request for a pet (dog) daycare facility and Minor Sign Exception at 3880 Grove Avenue

Layne and Ellyn Pollard are requesting a special use permit to allow the establishment and operation of a pet (dog) daycare facility, Central Bark, at 3880 Grove Avenue. The request includes any such other relief as may be necessary to accomplish the applicant’s development plan. A Minor Exception to the Sign Ordinance is also requested to allow a reduction in the required 8” letter height for a proposed ground sign. The subject property is zoned I-2 PUD, General Industrial District as a Planned Unit Development, and is located approximately 1,325 ft. from the northeast corner of the Delany Road & Grove Avenue intersection.

Ms. Booth stated that Layne and Ellyn Pollard are requesting a special use permit for a pet daycare facility, Central Bark, in an existing building at 3880 Grove Ave.  For day care services, the petitioner is requesting a maximum of 60 dogs per day and for overnight boarding services, a maximum of 25 dogs per night. Overnight boarding will be limited to registered clients and is an ancillary operation to the primary day care use.

For the exterior site plan, the petitioner is proposing to restripe the rear parking area to have a total of five parking spaces angled east to west rather than the current configuration of north to south, and to install an outdoor play area consisting of 3 outdoor kennels totaling 1,500 sq. ft. The outdoor kennels are proposed to have a maximum of 40 dogs at any one time.  A rear building entrance will also be maintained to allow customers and employees access into the building from the rear parking lot. 

Additionally, the petitioner is also requesting a Minor Exception to the Sign Ordinance to allow for a reduction in the required 8” letter and number height for the proposed ground sign panel; therefore, a separate motion on this item is needed.

Mr. Layne Pollard, 7429 Clarewood Lane, introduced himself and began by giving a brief presentation on his planned facility, and--explaining what "doggy daycare" actually is.  He also gave background information on the organization through which he and his wife are establishing their business, Central Bark.  He elaborated on their plans, stressing the contribution that such a facility will make to the community and the services that it will provide to both member of the community, and--their pets.   

Chairman Sula then opened the floor to questions and comments from the Board members…

Mr. Twitchell asked what kind of surface will be used in the outdoor play/exercise area of the facility, to which Mr. Pollard responded is pavement that likely be covered in some sort of artificial grass, eventually.

Mr. Twitchell and Mr. Paff five verified with Mr. Pollard that, on the property, there will be four parking spaces--another space reserved as barrier free parking, and--room for two/three mid-sized vehicles to park on the drive of the dock on the property 

Mr. Nordentoft then asked about anticipated traffic in and out of the facility during peak business hours.  Mr. Pollard explained that the busiest times of the day would likely be during the mornings (from about 7:00 a.m. until about 8:00 a.m) when customers are dropping off their dogs, and-- during the evenings (from about 5:00 p.m. until about 6:30 p.m.) when they return to pick them up.  Mr. Twitchell asked if Mr. Pollard has considered the likeliness that street parking may have to be utilized during these times, and--if he is comfortable in relaying that to customers.  Mr. Pollard then responded that not every customer will be arriving/leaving at once--and, since most payment for services is arranged ahead of time--these drop-offs and pick-ups can be handled efficiently (adding that handlers could even meet customers outside of the facility with the customers' dogs to speed things up if necessary, since pick-ups do take a bit longer).  He also felt that--if customers are happy with the services provided--they are not likely to be upset over having to, perhaps, park in the street when visiting the facility.    

Chairman Sula had concerns over the parking, and--whether or not there was ample room for parking and the amount of traffic at the site to accommodate the facility at full capacity. 

Mr. Kevin Moss, owner of the Central Bark facility in Grayslake, Illinois stated that—while averaging about 55 dogs for care during the day--there are only about three cars in the parking lot of his facility at one time.  He also stated that, since customers are usually on their way to or from work--they are usually very eager to get in and out of the facility--and, then on their way.  He elaborated that, as the relationships between customers grow--the handlers are able to have the dogs of respective customers ready and waiting as their owners arrive to pick them up. 

Mr. Twitchell asked if Mr. Pollard if there would ever be adjustments made to accommodate earlier/later arrival or departure times for customers and their dogs as his business grew.  Mr. Pollard responded that, while slight accommodation may be made, there is a business model that must be followed and that no major deviation from the facility's daily schedule of operations would likely be made. 

Chairman Sula opened the floor to the public.

Mr. Don Nill, Operations Manager with Edmik, Inc. located at 3850 Grove (immediately east of the proposed facility), stated that he is concerned that customers of Central Bark may end up parking on the docks of his business.  He also shared concern over the management of waste on the part of Central Park, and--whether or not traffic brought on by the facility would create difficulty in deliveries made to his business and the arrival/departure of his employees.

Mr. Drew Jespersen, owner of the business immediately to the west of the proposed facility, stated that he also shared concern over traffic interfering with deliveries.  However, he expressed greatest concerns are over the noise of barking dogs and the potential smell that may come out of a facility such as a doggy daycare.

Chairman Sula then closed the floor to the public, then--asked Mr. Pollard if he'd like to address concerns brought up in comment from the public.

Assisting Mr. Pollard in addressing these concerns, Mr. Moss stated that business practices of         Central Park do not allow for any negligence in cleaning up after the dogs.  He also stated that dogs are kept from barking incessantly, as efforts are made to keep the dogs engaged in daily     activities and given ample attention from the handlers. 

Mr. Twitchell addressed the issue of waste management, and asked Mr. Pollard about any dumpsters in place on the property for use of the business.  Mr. Pollard responded that there would, in fact, be a dumpster on the property for use by his business.

Mr. Paff asked Mr. Moss what kind of businesses were around his facility, and--if he's received any complaints.  Mr. Moss responded that there are retail establishments and offices around his facility, and--that he has received no complaints. 

Chairman Sula reiterated his concern over traffic issues potentially brought on by the facility.

Mr. Paff asked Mr. Pollard if he has considered any options he would have if he were to receive complaints over parking.  Mr. Pollard stated that he will inform all his customers that--under no  such circumstances--would parking be allowed in his neighbors' property when utilizing the services of his facility. 

Ms. Velkover stated that the access drive to the back of the building on the property may be designated as a fire lane, which would allow stronger enforcement of any improper parking.

Mr. Twitchell felt that most customers would likely use street parking anyway, as it would appear to be more convenient, anyway.

Mr. McFarlane asked if there had been any complaints made against a similar facility in the area. 

Ms. Booth stated that there had not been any made.

Chairman Sula stated that a motion would be in order.  Mr. McFarlane brought up the subject of the Minor Sign Exception also requested by the petitioner, and--Chairman Sula stated tht after recommendation was made on the request for a Special Use Permit-- the Minor Sign Exception would be addressed.

Mr. Nordentoft motioned, seconded by Ms. Broughton, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board on the petition of Layne and Ellyn Pollard for a special use permit to allow the establishment and operation of a dog (pet) day care facility, Central Bark, at 3880 Grove Avenue subject to the following conditions: 

  1.  That the facility be limited to dogs and that no more than 60 dogs per day can be served;
  2.  That overnight boarding of dogs is limited to the registered day care clients;
  3.  That no more than 25 dogs per night can be served for overnight boarding;
  4.  That no more than 40 dogs be allowed in the fenced outdoor play area at any one time and that at least one employee shall be present when dogs are in this play area;
  5.  That at all times the loading dock doors remain closed other than for loading and parking purposes;
  6.  That the repaving and striping plan be in conformance as illustrated on the site plan provided on October 26, 2012; and
  7.  That if a parking problem develops as determined by the Village, the petitioner shall appear before the Planning & Zoning Board with a plan to remedy the situation and that the remedy may include providing additional parking and/or modification of the business plan/plan schedule.

Roll Call Vote:

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

"Nays":                         Sula

Abstaining:                  None

Motion Carried:          5-1-0

Discussion then turned to the Minor Sign Exception.  As the Exception was for a slight reduction in the lettering for the proposed sign, there was no real concern expressed over theExcepton.   

A motion to approve the Minor Sign Exception was made by Mr. McFarlane, seconded by Mr. Paff.

Roll Call Vote:

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

"Nays":                         None

Abstaining:                  None

Motion Carried:          6-0-0

6.  Proposed Amendments to the Village’s Sign Code (Ord. 2008-39)

Staff is proposing amendments to several sections of the Village’s Sign Code including amendments to text and letter height on ground signs, provisions for permanent window signs, amendments to landscaping requirements for ground signs in office districts/uses,  amendments to ground sign design standards, and correction of maximum sign size for for-sale/ for-lease signs in non-single family areas.

Ms. Velkover stated that staff is proposing to amend the letter/number height requirement for ground signs as this standard has been the source of numerous minor exception requests.  At the same time, staff is proposing amendments that are housekeeping items that have been compiled since the ordinance’s adoption in 2008.

Ms. Velkover also stated that the PZB has processed 14 requests, 15 including the request that was before the PZB tonight, to reduce the letter/number height on 18 different ground signs since the adoption of the sign code in May of 2008.  All of these requests have been approved.  The combination of the number of requests, with the fact the all of these requests have been approved signifies that there is a problem with the regulation.  Therefore, staff is proposing to reduce the number/letter height for the business name to 6” and for tag lines to 3”.  The 6” letter height for the business name should still provide good legibility, but at the same time allow for improved aesthetics since it will allow businesses greater ability to use both upper and lower case letters in their business name.  The 3” letter/number height for tag lines will allow businesses to use, but not abuse these tag lines, since the height will limit the amount of extraneous information on a sign.  

Ms. Velkover asked Chairman Sula if he wanted her to explain all of the proposed changes and then field questions or take questions after she explains each individual change that is proposed. 

Chairman Sula stated that he believes that it would be more helpful to address questions immediately after the proposed change is explained.  He stated that the text height was established to improve the legibility of signs and that this text height was set high knowing that it could be tweaked lower in the future if it was found to be problematic.  He noted that lowering the letter/number height is a lot easier that trying to increase it.   He asked if anyone from the Board had any concerns with the proposed text height change.  The consensus of the Board is that the proposed letter/number height reduction proposed by staff should still results in improved sign legibility, while providing business owners additional flexibility for their ground signs.

Ms. Velkover proceeded to elaborate on changes to the sign code are in more of a "housekeeping" nature:

1.  Amend 52-05-B 1.b TEMPORARY SIGNS:  Ms. Velkover stated that there is currently contradictory language in this section regarding the maximum size that for sale/for lease signs in multi-family, office, commercial, institutional, public and industrial districts can be.  The intent was to utilize a multiplier for the property’s frontage with a cap of 150 sq. ft.   However, there is language in this section that indicates that the cap is 32 sq. ft. 

Chairman Sula asked if there were any comments or concerns with this change.  There were none.

2.  Amend 52-05-B 4 TEMPORARY SIGNS:  Add language to allow permanent window signs to be allowed along with temporary window signs, subject to the current window percentage, maximum size per window and total aggregate area in the ordinance for temporary window signs.

Mr. McFarlane stated that he is concerned with this amendment.  He doesn’t like window signs and has concerns with the percentage noted in the ordinance.

Ms. Velkover stated that staff is not proposing to amend the percentage that is already in the ordinance; it is not increasing.  Currently, the ordinance doesn’t provide any language for permanent window signs.  The proposed amendment merely allows businesses to utilize the current thresholds established in the sign code for both temporary and permanent window signs.

Mr. McFarlane stated that he understood, but that he is concerned with the percentage that is proposed.

Ms. Velkover stated that temporary signs are more defined by the temporary nature of the materials they are constructed of.  They tend to degrade over time (fade, get torn, etc.). Whereas, permanent signs are constructed of materials that are made of materials that are durable.  She noted that redirecting some of the percentage of window area that can currently be occupied by temporary signs to permanent signs would reduce the potential for old torn and faded window signs.

3.  Amend 52-05-D OTHER SIGNS:  Add #10 to allow non-illuminated signs painted or lettered directly to a window for the specific purpose of identifying the proprietor or name and hours of operation of the business to the passerby.  Such a sign shall be included in the area and window percentage allowances for temporary and permanent window signs.  She noted that this language was in the previous sign code and was unfortunately dropped from the new code.

Chairman Sula asked if this signage would be counted toward the 33% that is allowed for temporary/permanent window signs.  Ms. Velkover stated that it could and that this could be clarified.  There were no other comments or concerns with this amendment.

4.  Amend 52-08-C 5.a, 52-09-C 5.a, and 52-10-C 5.a FREESTANDING SIGNS DESIGN:  Delete language in the office, commercial, and industrial districts (uses) that requires that poles or pylons used to support ground signs be covered or concealed by a decorative cover compatible with the design of the sign and the architectural character of buildings on the site. Instead, insert language that requires these signs to be monument signs, which are defined as a freestanding sign where the base of the sign is on the ground or no more than 12 inches above the ground adjacent to the sign and where the base that is at least 80% of the width of the sign structure.  Staff is proposing this change because staff believes the intent of the ordinance, when it was adopted, was to require monument signs for business signs (office, retail and industrial).

Chairman Sula agreed that the intent was to obtain monument style signs for new office, commercial and industrial ground signs.  He stated that he believed that the language regarding the covering of posts by a decorative cover compatible with the design of the sign and the architectural  character of the building was for existing pole signs.  

Ms. Velkover stated that if that is the case, she can add language to the code to address the modification of existing pole signs in this manner. 

The members of the Board concurred that this type of language should be added.

5.  Amend 52-08-C 5.a FREESTANDING SIGNS DESIGN:  Ms. Velkover stated that staff is proposing to remove language from the office zoning district/land use for landscaping around the base of a ground sign that is different that the landscaping requirement for signs in commercial and industrial districts/land uses and replace with the landscaping language for commercial and industrial district/land uses. 

There were no concerns regarding this amendment by members of the PZB.

6.   Amend 52-11-C 5.a FREESTANDING SIGNS DESIGN:  Ms. Velkover stated that staff is proposing to modify the language to allow poles or posts used to support freestanding signs in the C/S-3 district to be “constructed of a material that is architecturally compatible with the overall design of the sign and the character of the buildings on site”.  This change is proposed so that there is no question that a carved cedar sign with cedar support posts is acceptable. 

Chairman Sula asked Ms. Velkover to explain where the C/S-3 district is located.

Ms. Velkover stated that the C/S-3 district is along Old Grand Avenue, where most of the business signs are sandblasted or carved cedar signs mounted on cedar posts.

There were no concerns expressed by the PZB regarding this amendment.


Ms. Velkover explained that the proposed changes result in the replacement of all references to the Planning & Zoning Board in the sign ordinance with Planning and Zoning Board.  It also changes any and all references to Article 57, which doesn’t exist, with the correct article, Article 13, of the Zoning Ordinance.

8.  Amend 52-16-A.1 NONCONFORMING SIGNS:  Ms. Velkover stated that this last amendment is to insert the sign code’s original adoption date of May 5, 2008 for the purpose of tracking legal non- conforming signs. 

There were no concerns with the above noted amendment.

Mr. Nordentoft motioned, seconded by Mr. Paff, to forward a favorable recommendation to the Village Board of the proposed sign ordinance amendments, as outlined by staff tonight, with the inclusion of additional language by staff to require that exposed poles supporting existing ground signs be required to be concealed by a decorative cover.\

Roll Call Vote:

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

"Nays":                         None

Abstaining:                  None

Motion Carried:          6-0-0

7.  Next Meeting Date:  November 14, 2012

8.  Adjournment:

Chairman Sula asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Mr. Paff made the motion, seconded by Mr. McFarlane.

Voice vote: 

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

Motion carried 6-0-0

The meeting was adjourned at 8:37 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joann Metzger
Secretary of the Planning and Zoning Board