Meeting Type:Joint Meeting
Board Name:Zoning Board of Appeals (old)
Meeting Date:June 24, 2009 - 7:30pm
The meeting was called to order at 7:38 P.M.
Plan Commission Members Present: Sharon Salmons, Patrick Drennan, Gwen Broughton
Plan Commission Members Absent: Chairman James Sula, David Nordentoft, Stephen Park,
Zoning Board of Appeals Members Present: Chairman Tom Hood, Edwin Paff, Don Wilson, John Spadaro,
Zoning Board of Appeals Members Absent: Denise Smith, Mike Deimler
Other Officials Present: Bryan Winter, Village Attorney; Tracy Velkover, Planning Manager; Molly Bacon, Associate Planner; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner
1. Approval of Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for May 20, 2009.
Mr. Spadaro made a motion, seconded by Mr. Wilson, to approve the Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Minutes for May 20, 2009.
Ayes: Hood, Paff, Wilson, Spadaro, & Kolar
Motion Carried: 5-0
2. Informal Discussion: Discussion of possible regulatory standards for incorporation into the Zoning Ordinance for the parking/storage of Recreational Vehicles and Haul Trailers on residentially zoned or used properties
Chairman Tom Hood stated tonight is a discussion of possible regulatory standards for incorporation into the Zoning Ordinance for parking and storage of recreational vehicles and all trailers on residentially zoned or used property.
Ms. Velkover, Planning Manager, stated as the Village Board has requested that staff to work with the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to discuss potential regulations relating to the outdoor parking and storage of recreational vehicles on residential lots. She stated recreational vehicles include campers, boats, haul trailers, jet skis, snowmobiles and other similar equipment that are used for recreational purposes. Regulations regarding the outdoor parking and/or storage of these vehicles are being discussed because there is concern that the parking and/or storage of these vehicles could negatively impact property values and endanger public health safety welfare.
Ms. Velkover stated that the purpose of tonight’s workshop meeting is to review ordinances or other communities in the area regarding recreational vehicle parking and/or storage and to obtain as public input. She stated that there was a press release which went out approximately 1½ weeks ago informing the public of tonight’s meeting. She also noted that staff is in the process of designing a survey that will be placed on the Village’s website for residents of the community to complete. The survey will help staff gauge resident support for regulations. She stated that the Press Release that was recently distributed also provided information about the survey. She noted that staff anticipates the survey will be available on the website by mid-July and that residents will have until mid-August to take this survey.
Chairman Hood asked Ms. Velkover to address the process of the Commission in how they make an actual decision up to the Village Board level including the timing.
Ms. Velkover stated that the process for an amendment to the text of the Zoning Ordinance involves both the Plan Commission and ZBA. She stated that it starts with joint workshop meetings where the Plan Commission and ZBA are becoming familiar with the issues, as well as examine the pros and the cons of regulations and their impact on the community. Once the Plan Commission and ZBA decide what, if any, text amendments they believe to be appropriate for the community, they will hold a public hearing. A public hearing notice would have to be completed, which would be published in a newspaper and provide the date and time of the hearing. She stated at this Public Hearing residents would have the opportunity to speak as they do the workshop meetings. She stated the Plan Commission and ZBA would each make separate recommendations to the Village Board on what, if any, text amendments should be made to the Zoning Ordinance. She stated these bodies can come to different recommendations or the same recommendations. She stated these recommendations will be forwarded to the Village Board and the Village Board, at a public meeting, will discuss this matter further and allow the public another opportunity to speak. She noted that the Village Board is the final decision making body. The Plan Commission and ZBA are advisory bodies that make recommendations on amendments to the Zoning Ordinance to the Village Board.
Ms. Velkover stated this is not at the Public Hearing stage and that this is very early in the process and is a workshop meting to review other communities’ ordinances.
Chairman Hood asked Ms. Velkover to lay out the current ordinance requirements for the parking and/or storage of RVs on residential properties.
Ms. Velkover responded that, as it was left at the last meeting, staff had links installed on the Village’s webpage to other communities RV parking and/or storage ordinances. She stated at the last meeting these were never really discussed and she believes this would be a good opportunity to go through these other ordinances, so the Plan Commission and ZBA, as well as the public, can see how other communities regulate the parking/storage of RVs.
Ms. Velkover presented the following information via a slideshow.
- Requires RVs to be placed on a hard surface pad, but otherwise does not regulate their location (yard or setback), number, or size on private property.
- Prohibits the removal of the wheels or other transportation device (except the temporary detachment of a towing unit) and prohibits the use of these vehicles for inhabitation, except for guests who are visiting for not more than 30 days in a calendar year.
Ms. Velkover stated that there are no other requirements in terms of size, number, location or screening in Gurnee.
- RV’s are prohibited from being parked or stored in a residential district except in a garage, carport or behind the nearest portion of a building to a street. The RV cannot be in front of or in between the building and the street.
- RV’s are prohibited from being used for living, sleeping or housekeeping purposes.
- RV’s are allowed to be parked anywhere on a residential lot for not more than 24 hours during loading or unloading.
Ms. Velkover stated that most communities have exemptions for loading and unloading.
- RV’s, boats, trailers, campers, etc. may be temporarily stored in driveways from April 1 to October 31 only. During the boating and camping season these may be parked on driveways.
- After the above listed dates these vehicles must be parked or stored on a paved surface and are prohibited from being parked inside yards with some exceptions if behind a privacy fence.
- For winter recreational purposes snowmobiles and their trailers are allowed to be temporarily parked on driveways between November 1 and March 31 only.
- Establishes a maximum length of 32 feet and a maximum height of 12 feet.
- Establishes a limit of 1 RV on a property, except that 2 non-motorized water craft not to exceed 17 feet in length may be stored in the rear yard.
- Parking and/or storage of RVs is only allowed in the rear yard subject to a 3-foot setback from the side lot line and a 5-foot setback from the rear lot line.
- Must be kept on an all-weather, dustless stone or gravel, asphalt or concrete pavement surface.
- Establishes standards for RVs with liquefied petroleum gas containers.
- Prohibits RVs from being occupied or used for living, sleeping, or housekeeping purposes except one guest for no more than 14 days during a calendar year.
- Prohibits from being used as an accessory structure.
- Temporary Parking of RVs is permissible for:
- Guests, for no more than 14 days during a calendar year
- Any size RV may park on the driveway within the front yard or side yard for a period not to exceed 72 hours for loading or unloading. Only one 72 hour loading/unloading period is permitted within any week and said 72 hour periods must be separated by a period of at least 48 hours.
Ms. Velkover stated that Libertyville’s ordinance addresses the parking of all types of vehicles on lots; passenger, commercial and recreational. It also addresses standards for accessory structures, by limiting the number of vehicles that can be parked in a garage. They do this by defining 3 different classes of vehicles and regulating as follows:
- Class II vehicle: Any RV and any other vehicle that is not a Class I vehicle and that does not exceed 23 feet in length, 8 feet in width, or 10 feet in height and that, if used in commerce, does not exceed 8,000 pounds in gross weight.
- Class III vehicle: A vehicle that is neither a Class I nor a Class II vehicle.
- Maximum number of vehicles permitted to be stored in all parking area on any lot is as follows:
- Total vehicles: 5
- Maximum number of vehicles permitted to be stored in all parking area on any lot is as follows:
· Class I 5 (anywhere on lot)
· Class II 5 (anywhere on lot except in any required front or corner side yards)
· Class III None
· For a lot under 20,0000 square feet a (3) three car garage is allowed.
· For lots between 20-40,000 square feet (4) four garage stalls are allowed.
· For lots over 40,000 square feet (5) garage stalls are allowed.
- Prohibits RVs over 35 feet in length, 10 feet in height, and 8 feet in width.
- RVs may be parked or stored in the side yards, rear yard, and required front yard on the driveway, but no more than one side yard may be used.
- Establishes a limit of 2 RVs on a single-family residential lot.
- RVs are prohibited from being used for living, sleeping, or housekeeping purposes.
- RVs are prohibited from being connected to electric, gas, water, or sanitary service.
- RVs are prohibited from being used as accessory structures.
- RVs are prohibited from having their wheels removed or being affixed to the ground.
- RVs are prohibited from being parked or stored in a way that creates a dangerous or unsafe condition.
- RVs are prohibited from being parked or stored within a foot of a public sidewalk.
- The ground under and surrounding where the RV is parked must be free of weeds or over-growth or debris.
- RVs are prohibited from being parked in the front yard or a yard adjoining a street.
- RVs with an overall length of 27 feet or less may be parked in a rear yard provided the area is paved and screened from view of neighboring properties with a dense planting screen or opaque fence sufficient to screen the vehicle up to a height of 8 feet.
- Larger RVs of over 27 feet in length may be only be parked in a fully enclosed building.
· Limits the number of RVs more than 20 feet in length to one.
· Requires that every RV be parked or stored on a paved driveway or pad located a minimum of 5 feet from any interior or rear lot line.
· Prohibits all RVs that exceed 28 feet in length, or 10 feet in height, or 8 ½ feet in width.
· Must be owned by the resident or occupant of the property.
· Prohibits RVs from being used for storage (not associated with the RV).
· Prohibits the wheels or hitches from being removed and prohibits from being affixed to the ground.
· Prohibits RVs from being parked or stored in a way that creates a dangerous or unsafe condition.
· Prohibits RVs from being parked so that they extend over any public sidewalk, street, or other required setback as defined by the ordinance.
· No part of an RV, which is more than 20 feet in length, shall be parked or stored closer to the public ROW than the building face located on the property where it is stored.
· Prohibits RVs from being used for living purposes, except guests which can occupy for a period not to exceed 72 consecutive hours and for no more than a total of 14 days during a calendar year.
· Prohibits RVs from being connected to sewer and water.
· Requires RVs equipped with liquefied petroleum gas containers to meet specific standards.
· Requires the ground adjacent to or under the RV to be free of noxious weeds, tall grass or debris and shall not be used for the storage of any other material or goods
· RVs may be parked on the driveway closer to the front property line that the closest wall of the building only for purposes of cleaning, maintenance, or other preparation for no more than 2 consecutive seven-day periods between April 1 and October 30 of each year.
· Temporary parking is allowed on the front yard driveway for loading, unloading, and overnight parking before and after each use.
Vernon Hills allows persons who cannot comply with the requirements because their lot is a through lot to park their RV in the rear yard provided that a wall, solid fence, or densely planted natural vegetation not less than 6 feet in height be constructed or planted in the rear yard between the RV and any adjacent streets.
· Limits the number of RVs per lot to one.
· RVs may only be parked in an interior side yard.
· Parking in corner side yards and rear yards are not allowed.
· Requires a 10-foot setback from any interior side lot line.
· Prohibits any part of the vehicle from projecting beyond the predominant front plane or rear plane of a house or garage to which it is immediately adjacent.
· RVs may only be parked on an approved paved surface, compacted, or imperious surface.
RVs must be fully screened from adjacent properties, excluding the ROW, via vegetation, as viewed at a height of 6 feet from the grade of the adjoining properties
Chairman Hood stated that this is not a hearing, it is a workshop and the Plan Commission and ZBA would like to hear the public’s comments. He stated the point of tonight is to gather information and that the Boards are looking to be responsive and recognize the Gurnee ordinance is old and updates are needed. He stated this doesn’t mean the current ordinance is bad but if everyone thinks it is good enough then no changes may be necessary.
He stated the Boards will listen to each person, there will be no interaction necessarily between the Board and the public and after everyone is done the Boards will discuss the matter further.
Chairman Hood opened the floor to the public.
Mr. Dean Jones, 1117 Laurel, stated he does not own an RV but would like to keep his options open, which is one of the reasons he lives in Gurnee. He stated there is definitely a need to address this issue and there are a lot of ordinances in Gurnee that are not enforced. He would like to have his property value protected under these ordinances but again noted most of them are not enforced. He stated he did see some interesting and reasonable accommodations in the presentation tonight that could be made in regard to the ordinance. He noted that he doesn’t want to live in Lake Forest or Lincolnshire. Most of the violations he sees include encroaching on sidewalks or right of way, unpaved surfaces, non-working vehicles just sitting perhaps because people cannot afford to use them. He stated those are the things he would like to see addressed. He believes a seasonal approach is a good idea to accommodate most of these recreational vehicles, noting the good ideas in the Hainesville ordinance. Although he stated that he could see that people might use a motor home in the winter, as well as in the summer, and would like to see a week allowed for unloading/loading as well as cleaning. He stated he is not one for the popular climate of regulating everything and would like to be sensible and reasonable about everything that is done as well as being independent from the other Villages are doing.
Chairman Hood asked for a raise of hands from the public on how many persons were in attendance at tonight’s meeting to make sure that the Board did not become more restrictive on RV’s. He asks the public if they would like to keep the current ordinance the way that it is. A number of unconfirmed persons in attendance raised their hands.
Mr. Sam Hillier, 4167 Harper Avenue, stated that his was the house that was in the News Sun article indicating that it was illegally parked. He stated he bought his home in Gurnee approximately 12 years ago for this very reason; so he could park an RV on his property. He stated he looked in Palatine and other communities that have regulations and that he chose Gurnee because there are no regulations. He stated that his RV is not a rusted out 1992 Ford Tempo sitting in the side of the yard, but instead a 35-foot beautiful RV sitting in his back yard. He stated because of the recent rains his back yard flooded and he pulled the RV onto his driveway after discussing it with his neighbors. He stated that it was only to be parked there for a week or two until his back yard dried out. Then he would return it to the pad in his back yard. He noted that he was a real estate agent for 10 years and understands the business. He stated he didn’t think anyone had a problem but noted obviously someone did whether it was a real estate agent or someone else. He stated this has been the way it is for him in Gurnee and that he pays an exorbitant amount of taxes, being in Lake County, which is in the top 30 in the nation with high taxes. He chooses to pay these taxes to live in Gurnee to have freedoms that he chose when he purchased his home. He stated he had to have a permit to put in a greenhouse in his back yard which had to have a slab underneath it. He stated he understands there has to be some civility. He stated that the photo of his RV in the newspaper, along with the article, made it look like the value of houses in the area are going down because of his RV. He stated this bothered him as all his neighbors have similar things. He mentioned right across the street from the Village Hall on O’Plaine Road there is an RV and haul trailer which everyone has driven by for the past (2) two years. He stated that he is upset that his RV made the paper since it was only moved from the back yard to the front for 2 weeks due to the recent weather. He asked if the Board can show him that having an RV parked on the side of a home is a menace to society or a public threat to someone’s health. He stated his RV is immaculate and in his opinion believes there are too many laws and rules.
Ms. Elise Helland, 376 Belle Plaine Avenue, stated she spends over $600.00 per year to park her 27-foot RV off-site. In the summertime, when they have company or when it is broken and they need to repair it, they like to complete the repairs themselves. She likes the idea of being able to park her RV in her driveway from April thru October, as Hainesville allows. She stated her RV is not parked on her property all the time. She noted that they have used their RV a lot within the past three weeks, so it has only been parked in the driveway occasionally. She stated her RV is parked elsewhere for long term but feels that 72 hours is too restrictive. She mentioned the current rains and noted that if there is any leakage it takes a long time to dry out. She stated being allowed to have it in the driveway while repairs are made is important.
Mr. Charles Carter, 1180 Lamb Lane, asked what happened to the freedoms of America before regulations. He stated that people who pay their bills and taxes, keep their mortgages, and keep their homes tidy and neat should be able to do whatever they want to do.
Chairman Hood asked the public to give specific comments regarding what they would specifically like to see with a new ordinance, or what they would be receptive too with a new ordinance.
Ms. Margo Moran, 1112 Laurel Lane, stated she was at the previous meeting and noted that it is important for people to know that the amount of people that own a boat or RV in the community is 3%. She stated this is a small percentage in comparison to everyone else. She stated this is something to keep in mind when voting on any new ordinance. She said that she can live with the April – October provision, but cannot live with the 72 hours of keeping her RV in her driveway. She stated she owns a boat, but for people that own an RV the 72 hour restriction is ridiculous when people come to visit, as they will most likely be visiting longer than 72 hours. She stated for example, it is unreasonable for visiting grandparents to not be able to park in the driveway longer than 72 hours. She mentioned the seven day rule and noted the 14 day period for a year may be a little too restrictive. She stated maybe a 30 day period for parking may be better.
Ms. Cheryl Bunnell, 3440 Woodlawn, stated that she is representing her parents. She stated their trailer is parked in their driveway which is a paved surface. She stated her parents travel across country from the months of February – November for their foundation, which promotes breast cancer and prostate awareness. She said that if they were to store their trailer in an offsite location it would make cleaning and preparing their trailer from one travel trip to the next more of a hassle than it would be to just leave the trailer parked in their driveway. She stated they are gone for two weeks at a time and when they come home the trailer will get cleaned out and prepared again for the next trip, with them being gone in four days and on their next trip. She stated her parents believe that changing the ordinance will impact what they are doing in a negative manner due to the fact her parents would have to go elsewhere making more trips to get what they need done and their trips wouldn’t be as effective.
Ms. Sandra Zagnoli, 1100 Kilbourne Road, stated she parks her RV on her driveway in front of her two car garage on the side of the driveway that she never uses which is located underneath trees. She stated her neighbor has no problem with her parking her RV in this location. She stated the only problem she has with changing the current ordinance is the seasonal times of year as she cannot afford to store her RV off-site. She stated it is her driveway and it is on the side of the driveway she doesn’t use and asks why she cannot have her vehicle parked there. She stated she has two vehicles, her car and her motor home. She stated she has always had it parked there and has never stored it. She stated she is the only driver in her family and stated she doesn’t know if she can leave her extra vehicle there; again stating she cannot afford to store it somewhere else. She asked what prompted the desire to change the current ordinance.
Chairman Hood responded that over the last 2-3 years there has been a general updating of ordinances and this certainly is not the only area that the Board has worked on. He stated they have worked on every imaginable area of the code because this ordinance is at least 30 years old. He stated this needs some updating in terms of dealing with things that didn’t even exist 30 years ago and it is not like the Board has just picked this out as the only thing to be changed.
Ms. Zagnoli asked why change the ordinance is no one has made any comments regarding it.
Ms. Velkover responded that to clarify, this is not only an update to the Village of Gurnee’s Ordinances that have been going on, but there has been specific direction from the Board because of complaints received from some residents about very large RVs being parked very close in proximity to existing houses on driveways and pads between yards. She stated the Boards were asked to look at this issue, as well as investigate how other communities regulate these vehicles to determine whether the code needs to be updated.
Ms. Zagnoli responded that she feels if it is her property she should be able to park her RV on her driveway as her neighbors have no problem with it.
Mr. Robert Klemm, 936 Rogers Road, stated he has lived at this location for 68 years. He asked if the Village has an ordinance on the size of the campers in the yards because when/if the Board changes the ordinance it should be remembered that currently the ordinance states 8 feet in width and the law in Illinois states 8 ½ feet in width. He said that his RV is 8 ½ feet in width. He also stated a lot of the newer RVs are 8 ½ feet wide. He stated the Village of Gurnee should focus its attention at the number of vehicles parked in driveways. He noted that he is guilty of violating the ordinance, as his RV is not parked on a hard surface pad and it doesn’t have plates. He stated the Village should look at this as there are a lot of people who have illegal parked vehicles on their driveways. He asks how many utility trailers can be in a driveway. He stated that he has (3) three trailers which are all licensed and he uses all of them.
Mr. Hood responded the ordinance does not restrict the number at this time, but that trailers are part of the RV discussion.
Mr. Russ Ginalski, 3491 Keith Avenue, stated he has a 34-foot RV, which he paid more for than his house. He stated his house is paid for and his RV is not. He stated he pays $650 - $700 per month in property taxes. He is retired and for him to take his RV and have it stored elsewhere for an additional $100 per month will be difficult for him to do. He said that he has seen some RVs that have tall grass growing up underneath, as well as these being underneath trees. He stated these are the ones that need to be addressed. He stated he could agree with an ordinance allowing RV parking from the latter part of March to the first snowfall.
Mr. Leon Seay, 995 N. Ferndale Avenue, stated he thinks the ordinance should remain unchanged. He has lived in the older section of Gurnee for the past 34 years. Everyone he sees with trailers or boats makes arrangements for proper storage according to the Village of Gurnee’s current ordinance. He stated he believes Gurnee has a lot more to be concerned about beside a boat or RV. He stated there are water problems in Gurnee that have been historically bad. He noted in the older section of Ferndale Avenue, west of Highway 41, there is water that does not drain because drainage has not been installed. He stated this is more of a concern than an RV or boat. He stated everyone in his neighborhood takes exquisite care of their property; the properties are beautiful. He said it is not a big deal if someone has an RV parked by their garage on a pad. He stated this is like throwing stones at people who have historically been here. He said that we need to take care of Gurnee’s streets and drainage problems.
Mr. Larry Mitchell, 651 S. Rt. 21, stated he thinks the ordinance is fine the way it is. He stated he is firm believer in the government that governs least is the best. He stated the least restrictions you can put on people the better and the current restrictions, parking on a hard surface and not taking tires off, pretty well covers it.
Gene Feely, 1205 Fuller Road, stated that he has been a resident for 18 years and has an acre lot. He noted that there should be a distinction between smaller lots and larger lots. He stated in 1999 he tore down a garage and built a larger garage and in 2003 took down a 900 square foot home and built a large home. He stated he has a very nice piece of property and keeps his 42-foot motor home right next to the house. He stated sometimes he goes away for 5 months at a time and at other times it is parked there all year. He stated if the regulation is changed he will have to spend $1,000.00 per year just to store his motor home while he is paying $17,000.00 per year in property taxes. He asked why the Board would want to place this extra burden on him and other property owners. He stated his motor home has a fence around it as well as plenty of trees. He stated that when the Village comes up with an ordinance, conditions will need to placed on the ordinance for people who are in the older sub-divisions who have far more property than others as well a those who are taking care of their property and doing things right. He stated he is becoming teed-off after 18 years and building the home he dreamed of and then to be told he cannot park his motor home on his property. He stated for him, it would be personal and that he loves where he lives as well as liking Gurnee.
Mr. Mike Morrelli, 3960 Grandville, stated that he has been a resident for 5 years. He stated that a photo of his boat was on page 5 of the News Sun and indicated that the only reason it was on his driveway was because he did not have a 200 ft. cord to plug it in for battery re-charging. He stated he didn’t spend $1,000.00 for a pad until he was told he could park anything he wanted to park there. He said every year his handicapped wife puts flowers on the berm so the boat can hardly be seen. He stated he doesn’t see a problem with parking it there year round. He said you cannot compare Gurnee to different suburbs. He said he moved to Gurnee for certain reasons, which include the rules and regulations in town being a lot more lenient. He said that he hopes he can stay in Gurnee. He also agreed that there is a lot more for Gurnee to worry about than RVs, such as water drainage and the beeping at night which occurs 24/7 from trucks in the nearby commercial area.
Ms. Naomi Howe, 4221 Old Grand Avenue, stated she has lived at this address for 37 years and for 13 of those years she has had a trailer on her property. She stated that the trailer is insured, licensed, and follows all the rules. She has never had complaints from any of the neighbors and all of her assessments have gone up every year. She stated more than a year ago her neighbor sold his property and she knows for fact that her trailer did not upset the transaction. She stated that those people who are worried about the value of their homes should check the volatile economy and what has happened to mortgages and bad loans. She stated as far as their trailer being a danger, it is insured with its brakes stabilized. She stated the only danger she has had with the trailer is it being used as target practice by people.
Mr. Jack McClory, 3572 Lee, stated that he has been a resident for 25 years. He stated the Village should let people park whatever they want in their driveways. He stated some of the other communities have white van regulations and Gurnee should not copy other communities on what they allow and what they don’t allow. He stated people work hard for their money and pay a lot of taxes to live in this town. People should be left alone to put what they want on their property. He stated he can understand for those that are eye sores but sees no reason to change laws and rules just because other communities do.
Mr. Steve Chalup, 1391 Sonoma Court, stated he wished to thank Mr. Paff for canvassing the neighborhood and allowing him to voice his opinion at this forum. He stated he and his wife have lived in Gurnee for approximately 13 years. They have a 31 foot power (cigarette) boat with a trailer, which is stored from roughly October 15 to April 15. He pays $1,000.00 for storage for this period of time. He stated his boat is on his driveway for about 2 weeks to prep it for the season and then again for another 2 week period to prep it for storage. He stated the only other time his boat would be on his driveway, for example, would be such as it is now, due to the flooding on the Chain of Lakes, as this is where he does a lot of his boating. He stated personally he would like to see the ordinance stay the way it is with no new regulations other than a workable situation for boaters to have boats on the driveway for preparation for the season.
Mr. Tony Brehart, 3617 Glen Flora, stated that he has been a Gurnee resident for 11 years. He stated that he can see some people’s point on this matter. He stated he is not totally opposed to make some clarifications on some of the regulations. He stated there needs to be a clear definition on what a hard surface area is – is gravel ok or does it have to be asphalt or concrete. He stated he has live in other towns, such as Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, and Palatine, and that the lack of regulations was one of the reasons he moved to Gurnee. He stated it is a little bit more country and a little bit less restrictive. He stated some of the things that need to be looked at are maybe a per case basis or per complaint basis. Listening to people this evening, there are a lot of residents from the older part of Gurnee and their lots are substantially larger than some of the newer areas which could be part of the reason this is being brought up in the newer areas. He stated there should be a little more discussion with Gurnee giving some leeway on this. He stated a lot of his hobbies require multiple trailers of different sizes. He stated he can see some parts being a problem but believes to clarify what Gurnee has and see how that may work first, before going into any major changes like some of the other communities. He stated he lives in a fairly tight neighborhood where everyone gets along and his neighbors know if there is a problem, they can go to him as he will take care of it. He stated to take a little less government and let some of the neighborhood stuff work itself out.
Mr. Hank Govekar, 4354 Meadowlark Court, resident for 20-some years stated people are conscious of their neighbors making sure everything in right without ticking off any neighbors. He stated as Gurnee has grown more people are whiners and he doesn’t want to do a knee jerk reaction for one or two of the whiners. He stated he likes what Ms. Velkover did presenting the other communities local ordinances. He stated Buffalo Grove is Cook County and he doesn’t care what is done in that community. He stated he would like to see what Zion and Winthrop Harbor do with their ordinances. He stated he likes some of the things that Hainesville did with their ordinance. He stated Gurnee is a diverse community with a wide range of income families. He stated this needs to be thought about. He stated the current ordinance is okay. He stated he does not have a camper or boat and believes these other things need to be looked at. He stated he doesn’t believe this will tear down property values. He stated he believes things are good and suggests taking a look at a few other communities in the area to see what they do and to maybe tweak the ordinance without going any further than that.
Mr. Mike Poremba, 991 Pine Grove, stated he has a 17-foot fishing boat that he keeps in his back yard underneath a canopy and on gravel. He stated if he has to pay for storage the boat will be gone. He stated if a person has the property and the vehicle is not an eye sore there should be no reason why a person cannot keep a RV/boat on their property. He stated most people in the area keep their homes, boats, and motor homes immaculate. He stated obviously no one has complained about this and it must be the people on the west side of Gurnee that have complained because they have the more expensive homes and don’t want the storage of boats and RV’s. He stated most of the RV and boat owners cannot afford to store these vehicles any more due to the economy and job loss. He stated for the Village to tell RV and boat owners they must store their vehicles for $100 - $200 a month is ridiculous because as residents they spend enough in property taxes. He stated most of the RV/boat owners in Gurnee have big yards that are nicely kept and there should be no reason why they cannot store their vehicles on their property.
Ms. Margo Moran, 1112 Laurel, stated she lives on the west side of Gurnee where there are not a lot of large size lots. She stated that this should not make a difference as to keeping her boat in her driveway. She stated she agrees with everyone here and that if her neighbors complain (which they haven’t), they should complain to her. She stated that she keeps everything neat and clean around her boat along with her yard looking good and that this is the last thing the Village should be worried about. She doesn’t believe the ordinance should be based on the size of a person’s house or lot. She stated her boat is the same color as her house and does not block the sidewalk.
Mr. Jim Vielbig, 2008 Madison Avenue, stated he heard a lot of comments about the size of yards which he believes is important to consider. He stated he lives in the 20 year old Westgate area that has very small yards with large RV’s parked between the houses. He stated these vehicles fit there and some have really nice paved pads that enable the vehicles to be driven right off driveways. He stated others have gravel under their RV’s with weeds growing around them, and considers those an eyesore. He stated he agrees with some of the people who keep up the areas and their yards are big enough to support storing a RV and that he doesn’t have a problem with this. He said there are some people that, because of the size of their lots, store their RVs in their backyards out of sight. This is fine. He stated he has a problem with the fact of being able to do anything a person wants despite what the Village contentions are. He suggests that perhaps the Village could subsidize some sort of off-site storage area. He stated there are a lot of empty areas within Gurnee where maybe an RV storage lot could be put in a flood plain area and have the Village pay for it. He stated this would accommodate someone with a smaller lot who may not have room for an RV. He asked Ms. Velkover, in reference to Village Ordinances regarding the setbacks, if those setbacks were from the sides of the yards, front of the yards, or from the building. He stated part of the issue he has is that people are shoe horning these RVs in between their house and their neighbors houses. He stated some of these are massive in size actually bigger than the 1st floors of the buildings. He also stated he agrees with another person regarding having inoperable vehicles on driveways. He stated there are ordinances against this as well as un-licensed vehicles and vehicles on blocks. He stated a person can drive up and down a street and see this. He stated there are ordinances against this but they are not enforced. He said if anything is to be done, it must be an ordinance that the police can enforce. He stated he has called the police about a couple of things and what good is it to have an ordinance that the police cannot get involved in.
Mr. Kevin Moss, 2086 Windsong Court, stated that there is a nightmare on Hancock. He stated a resident has a boat with two axels that are so big the boat is bigger than the garage. He stated the boat used to be parked on the grass and was told by the Village it had to be parked on a semi-hard surface. He stated there was stone put down and now, a year later there are weeds probably 3 feet tall growing around the boat. He stated the boat hasn’t been moved and there is now toy playground equipment, a roof-top luggage carrier, and garbage cans in this area. He also stated there is an open step-ladder right next to the boat and this is a nightmare. He stated this boat is between the resident’s house and the neighbor’s house. He stated this needs to be addressed. He believes the ordinance can be tweaked and make it better for everyone. He stated if the neighbor would ever go to sell his home, that person will take a hit as far as re-sale value because of how the area around this boat looks and it being next to his house. He stated another tweak to be considered is if a person (property owner) does not own the boat, it should not be allowed to be stored on the property. He stated if the advantage will be given to someone to park a boat on the property they should live in the town of Gurnee. He stated he has spoken to the person who has this large boat and he has not cleaned up the area. He stated for those people who have a boat/RV, have it fenced/screened, have a big enough lot and take care of their areas, it is great and he is all for it. He stated it is the little lots that have big boats stored on the property that he objects to.
Mr. Robert Sandahl, 4053 Old Grand Avenue, stated he has a big boat. He stated he didn’t know if Mr. Kolar would be taking a drive by to look at it but he still has 27 feet in front of the boat before the street. He stated there are ordinances that limit the size of garages therefore, it can’t be moved back. He stated his detached garage is 36 feet long and he has room to park it along the side of his garage, but he needs to have his boat out in front because it takes him 15-20 minutes to load the boat with his fishing gear. He stated he does not know who came up with the health safety issues, and perhaps Mr. Moss has a problem with how it looks. If something different is going to be done, he noted it should be done on an individual basis with how it looks and not where the boat is parked as there is an ordinance stating it must be on a hard surface. He said if weeds are involved it is a code enforcement issue and not to penalize those who take care of the areas where boats/RVs are parked. He stated for other subdivision that have Homeowners Associations that prohibit RV parking, leave it to them to enforce as it is their legal issue. He stated it would be their homeowners association that would have to go to court, not the Village of Gurnee. He stated that the Village cannot afford to hire more code enforcement officers, and that currently there are only 2 part-time code enforcement officers. He stated there is no money for the Village to subsidize a storage facility. He stated his boat is parked on his property and covered under his homeowner’s policy. He stated if his boat has to go to storage he will have to pay for a different insurance policy to cover the boat. He stated there are a lot of different considerations. He stated if the Board takes this on a case by case basis, with how it looks and how it is kept there should not be any rule changes if a boat/RV is parked on the resident’s property, off easements, and on a hard surface.
Mr. Tony Brehart, 3617 Glen Flora, stated he would like to see some of the ordinances for towns north of Gurnee and the surrounding areas such as North Chicago, Zion, and Beach Park, to obtain a better feel of ordinances. He agrees with keeping a boat between two houses at times doesn’t work let alone if the area is not maintained. He stated this will hurt property values and this is when it becomes a problem. He stated there should be more addressed on individual basis. He stated if a person has a yard that can support the “toys”, with the yard being maintained and the vehicle being licensed and insured it shouldn’t be a problem and stated this is one of the reasons he moved to Gurnee. He stated if neighbors have a valid complaint and/or safety issue, then this should be addressed.
Chairman Hood closed the floor to the Public.
Chairman Hood stated there will be other opportunities as well as the Public Hearing for the Public’s testimony to be heard. He stated the Public would be sworn-in and they could state similar things to what was said this evening. He stated the same opportunity would be available to the Public at the Village Board Meeting. He stated this is not the last time that public comments/testimony would be heard and to remember the critical point is where the Village Board is actually able to see the Publics individual comments as well as this Board’s discussions and recommendations. He stated if the Public wishes to address the decision makers directly the Public needs to be present when decisions are made at the Village Board level. He stated it is critical for the Public to speak to the Village Board and that tonight’s Board is basically gathering information and providing discussion, but the Village Board is ultimately the one who makes the decision.
Chairman Hood stated the Public will now hear some discussion among the Board and if the Public would like to stay for the remainder if this meeting they are welcome. He stated there will not be any decisions or recommendations made this evening. He noted another meeting date may be set. He stated the Board appreciates the Public’s comments tonight and stated those comments have been very helpful.
Chairman Hood stated from what he has heard this evening and from his personal position is that it is not “us” against “them”. He stated he lives in Gurnee and doesn’t like regulation anymore than the public. He stated from the Board’s perspective they are just trying to do their job and make a community where everyone can live together happily. He stated sometimes there are rules that some people like and that some people don’t like and he invites everyone to participate. He noted that Mr. Kolar came from a place where he had a lot of input, where the public is sitting right now and he decided he didn’t want to sit out there any longer. He stated Mr. Kolar joined the Board so he could be part of the decision making process. He stated the public’s comments are always welcome in the decision making process.
Chairman Hood stated he cannot emphasize enough how thankful the Board is that the Public attended and that they are interested enough in Gurnee that they want to see good things happen. He stated too often when the Board meets there is no one in the audience, as if no one really cares. Chairman Hood asked for comments or questions from the Plan Commission members.
Mr. Drennan asked how many complaints were reported and what the complaints were.
Ms. Velkover responded the Village has a code enforcement officer who does traffic cases. She stated the amount varies greatly each year with one year having nearly 40 complaints from residents about RV’s being parked. She stated on average the amount is probably in neighborhood of approximately 20 complaints per year.
Mr. Drennan asked if most of these complaints are number of vehicles, size of vehicles or being parked too close to the end of a driveway.
Ms. Velkover responded probably size, location, and the surface the RV is parked on are the most common complaints. She noted all that the Village can respond to is that the RV has to be on a hard surface pad.
Ms. Salmons asked if there is nothing else that can be done at this point even if it is unsightly.
Ms. Velkover responded there is no requirement for screening, there is no requirement for location and basically a vehicle can be parked anywhere on a resident’s lot as long as it is on a hard surface pad and the pad maintained (kept weed free). She stated residents can park as many RVs on their property as there is no limit on the number of vehicles. She stated this is not an all or nothing situation. She mentioned that some people indicated the seasonal ordinance would work, but expressed concern about paying for storage off-site during the off-season. She noted that some communities with a seasonal component to their ordinance will ban them from the driveway except during the season associated with their use, but allow them to be stored in other areas on the lot during the off season. She stated this would not mean necessarily that a person’s boat or RV would have to be moved off-site, but it would have to be moved to another location after the season is over, such as a rear yard or whatever areas are allowed in an ordinance. She stated some communities allow RVs to be parked in interior side yards, but this can get tight on a smaller lot as some lots only have a 10-foot side yard setback. This can lead to some of the life safety concerns, such as interfering with fire rescues from a second story window for fire escape. She also noted that some communities establish setbacks from property lines. Setbacks are not consistent and vary from community to community. She also noted some communities establish screening requirements, while other communities do not.
Ms. Broughton asked if most of the homes that are in subdivisions with Homeowners Associations also address this issue and if these supersede the Village ordinance.
Ms. Velkover responded a lot of the subdivisions on the west side of town have Homeowners Association. The Village is not privy to all of those regulations, but many do restrict or prohibit the RV parking. She noted that these regulations supersede the Village’s ordinances, but can only be enforced by the Homeowner’s Association and not the Village.
Chairman Hood asked about the upcoming survey on the Village website.
Ms. Velkover stated the Village will have an on-line survey for residents to complete. She stated this survey will ask questions of the residents of Gurnee in order for the Village to gauge what type of restrictions if any, that the residents would be receptive to. She stated for those people who are not able to access the survey on-line, a hard copy of the survey will be offered for these residents to fill out. She stated this should be available on-line from mid-July to sometime in August. In regard to future meeting dates, she stated that she would like to wait until the online survey has been closed and results survey compiled. She stated this would probably mean not meeting again until late August, which may interfere with residents’ vacations and college bound students leaving for school. She stated the next available meeting date may be the 2nd week in September, to avoid the Plan Commissions’ first meeting of the month.
Ms. Velkover stated most of the information contained in the PowerPoint presentation is located on the Village’s website. She stated there are links to the different communities’ ordinances. She stated some of ordinances presented tonight, i.e., Grayslake and Waukegan do not have links listed on the website because these links could not be found.
Chairman Hood asked if some of the other Villages mentioned in tonight’s meeting (Zion, Winthrop Harbor, Antioch, and Beach Park) could be added to the website.
Ms. Velkover responded these can certainly be looked at and linked to the Village of Gurnee’s website, if available.
Chairman Hood asked if the Plan Commission had any additional questions or comments.
Chairman Hood if the Zoning Board of Appeals had questions or comments.
Mr. Kolar stated people are using enclosed trailers on the east side of town for storage and these enclosed trailers have not moved in years. He stated another example located on Florida Ave is a boat that hasn’t moved in 10-15 years and it is covered by an evergreen tree. He stated enforcement is the key. He stated there are two part time staff people that have taken the place of one person, one of which he met recently, and these people are on top of this and will address these situations. He stated he appreciates the public being present this evening and providing their input and the Board will do the best that they can.
Mr. Spadaro spoke in regards to the situation on Hancock. He asked if anything has been tried with the Homeowners Association. He stated he knows that some of the Homeowners Associations’ hands are tied. He stated a lot of the Associations won’t fight due to lack of money and for those who do want to fight it goes into a legal battle which leads to the next year’s Homeowners fees rising in cost due to legal expenses. He stated he lives in South Ridge where the Homeowners Association is fairly strict and if there are complaints they normally address those complaints. He stated a lot of the comments stated this evening are very good and he personally doesn’t believe something should be changed just because it is too old. He stated recommendations need to be based on what could promote unhealthy or un-safe situations. He stated he believes this could be worked out and keep everyone happy as this is why everyone moved to Gurnee.
Mr. Wilson stated he believes in people having freedom on their own property and the smaller amount of regulations the better. He stated he believes that an updated ordinance can help to preserve the integrity of the neighborhoods while keeping all of the residents in mind. He stated he is fine with an ordinance that prohibits the blocking of the right-of-way, prohibiting RVs from being used as a residence, requiring RVs on a maintained surface, prohibiting from being used as junk storage, and with RV’s and trailers being properly insured and licensed to the homeowner. He stated these possible changes might not affect anyone here this evening but they could give relief to residents negatively affected by people who are not thoughtful of their neighbors. He stated this is where true common ground between the Board and the public. He assures everyone there is not a wall between the Public and the Board. He believes this evening got off to a great start with the input from the Public. He stated he thinks no one has anything to worry about especially the people that are present this evening. However, he noted that the public must follow the process through completion, since this board is not the decision making body.
Mr. Paff stated when he first heard about the seasonal restrictions it sounded interesting. He did state however, that he’s not exactly sure what it would accomplish. He stated as far as property values, most of the homes sell during the span with vehicles being there, and this is not what it is all about.
Ms. Velkover responded that the seasonal issue is with allowing the RV on the driveway with the vehicles generally coming and going, not just sitting on the driveway for extended periods of time. Since the only time the RV would be allowed on the driveway is during the season that it is typically used (boat in summer, snowmobiles in winter). She stated that boats could then be moved to the back of the lot for the winter months. She stated she understands that most of the home sales do occur during the good weather times when the RV’s/boats will be on driveways. She stated at least in those cases, that RV/boat generally will be coming and going, and not be there without moving for years and years. If a RV is not moving, then it would be at the back of the lot (or wherever the ordinance allowed it to be during the off-season).
Mr. Paff stated that he has a hard time with this since he has no one living near him with an RV. He stated he lives in the west side of town, in Elysian Fields, where there are small lots. He stated the driveway is the only place an RV could be put. He stated he doesn’t know how he would feel if on either side of him a motor home was parked with his lot being trapped between them, as he had never being put in that position. He stated he does not know what the restrictions are for Elysian Fields. He stated he is looking for input from everyone who came this evening. He also stated he doesn’t believe the need to jump onto something because of a couple of people and asked for clarification on the number of complaints.
Ms. Velkover responded that, on average, there are probably around 20 complaints per year, but that the number varies.
Mr. Spadaro stated that some things need to be changed, such as broken down cars sitting for years. He stated things like this should be addressed and believes that this is a violation. He stated maybe there is someway this can be worked around and thinks each problem should be addressed. He stated if there is a problem to try the good neighbor approach to see if that may work. He then stated for people to go online and look at the Village Code to see if it is something that could be addressed through the Village. He stated if a person has a huge piece of property this is really not an issue.
Chairman Hood asked for a response from Ms. Velkover for direction and based on what occurred this evening, that if some restrictions were to be added, the next meeting would be sometime in September and would that meeting be a workshop or would it be a formal hearing at this point.
Ms. Velkover responded that the next meeting would not be a formal hearing. She stated that she would like to hold the next workshop meeting after the survey has been closed and the results compiled. This would likely put the next meeting either at the end of August, or more likely, early September. This meeting date would be announced on the Village of Gurnee’s website. She also said information would be compiled about RV parking ordinances for Zion, Winthrop Harbor, Antioch, and Beach Park and that this information would be provided at the next meeting. She stated some possible regulations could be drafted based upon tonight’s meeting and the survey results, or at least some direction could be discussed.
Chairman Hood stated it would be helpful based on what he has heard that the Board would address the issues and not over-regulate, but try and address the complaints dealing with the size and being close to lot lines and this could be in line with an ordinance that the Board would consider as opposed to someone having 10 acres and putting a vehicle on a pad with an ordinance regulating against that.
Ms. Velkover clarified the historical information on complaints is probably only going to indicate whether the vehicle was either over-hanging a right-of-way or not on a hard surface pad as these are the only regulations that the Village has. The complaints will not reflect concerns about vehicle size, since this is not regulated by the Village. She stated she knows of complaints related to vehicle size from talking with the code enforcement officer and taking complaints herself over the years.
Chairman Hood stated it would be helpful to have a draft of some regulations to review at the next meeting, as it would be something for the Board to discuss.
Ms. Velkover stated that by the next meeting there should be enough feedback from residents’ that a draft can be put together for everyone to look at and react to.
Chairman Hood asked for any other comments from either of the Boards.
Ms. Broughton stated for those who want to sell their house and down the road there are regulations, to keep in mind, what people have now, and make their decisions on this as she doesn’t want this to create a hardship for people if a change is made.
Ms. Salmons stated that she might be in the minority, but she believes that the existing ordinances are too open and that more regulation is needed. She stated right now there are no regulations at all which means there will be, and as she has seen, more than one vehicle on property as well as grass growing underneath these vehicles. She stated there needs to be enforcement of what is currently in place but nothing is really enforced as there is lack of anything to enforce. She stated the ordinance should be a more restrictive and those that indicate that this will create hardship for will always have hardship on everything. She stated some people will always not be able to afford to do it and regulations are needed for enforcement that will make the town of Gurnee better and more appealing, and not less appealing because there are no rules and proper guidance.
Mr. Spadaro asked if there was a rule on how long the grass can be around/under a RV/boat.
Ms. Velkover responded a lot of the complaints that are received are for vehicles that are not on a hard surface pad or not being maintained under the hard surface pad as weeds are growing up. There is a grass height ordinance, which limits grass to 8”.
Ms. Broughton stated this probably goes back to enforcement.
Ms. Velkover stated in terms of someone maybe storing play equipment on the pad, there is nothing the Village can do about this, as people are allowed to store other items such as these outside.
Ms. Broughton asked if there was no way to enforce anything.
Ms. Velkover responded the Village can enforce the hard surface pad, the maintenance of the hard surface pad, the removal of wheels and other towing devices, and people residing in RVs. She stated there aren’t any size, number, or location requirements and thus, nothing to enforce.
Chairman Hood asked for a motion to adjourn.
Ms. Broughton made the motion to adjourn with members of both Boards seconding the motion.
The Meeting was adjourned at 9:14 P.M.
Plan Commission Secretary