Village of Gurnee
Plan Commission Minutes
July 18, 2012
1. Call to Order and Roll Call
The meeting was called to order at 7:40 p.m.
Planning and Zoning Board Members present: Chairman James Sula, Richard McFarlane, Gwenn Broughton (arrived at 8:40 p.m.) & Edwin Paff
Planning and Zoning Board Members absent: David Nordentoft, Sharon Salmons & Richard Twitchell
Other Officials present: Tracy Velkover, Planning Manager
2. Chairman Sula announced that the Board is one member short of a quorum and therefore, cannot conduct any official business. In the meantime, he noted that there is an item on the agenda that does not require official action; item #6, the informal discussion of the Heather Ridge Indoor Tennis Club. He recommended the board discuss this item and then if another board member arrives before this item is finished, the board can go back and conduct its official business. The other members of the board supported this approach.
3. Informal Discussion: Heather Ridge Indoor Tennis Club
Ms. Velkover stated that Mr. Rick Tannenbaum and Mr. Randy Malone are seeking informal feedback on a plan to enclose the four southern tennis courts located on the Heather Ridge Umbrella Association property, immediately west of the Heather Ridge Golf Course Clubhouse. The property is zoned R-5 PUD, Limited Multi-Family as a Planned Unit Development.
Mr. Tannenbaum opened by stating that he and his partner, Randy Malone (Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Tennis at College of Lake County) are seeking preliminary feedback on their proposed project before making formal application. He stated that Lake County is in “dire need” of an indoor tennis facility, and that at present time there are none in Lake County. He stated that their plan is to utilize existing courts as a way of keeping down costs and to allow all-season use of under-utilized facilities. He also stated their focus on the courts in Heather Ridge is due to Gurnee’s central location within the County, as well as its location near the College of Lake County and other area schools.
He stated that he and Mr. Malone are proposing to build a steel-formed structure over the existing courts—with a two layer insulated fabric covering and concrete footings. He noted that this type of building/material was developed in the military. They plan a structure that would be granted approval by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), and that would meet the Association’s size requirement. Mr. Tannenbaum also stated that the fabric covering comes in a choice of color. He also noted that the roof height that is comparable to buildings nearby. He noted that the building would be setback approximately 10-15 from residential garage structures to the west and approximately 30 feet to townhomes to the west. He noted that these homes face south—therefore, no obstruction would result.
Mr. Tannenbaum stated that they have spoken with the community (Homeowner’s Association) and have gained support and approval from members in Heather Ridge.
Mr. Paff asked Mr. Tannenbaum if there had been any negative feedback on the proposal.
Mr. Tannenbaum replied that none had been expressed, but acknowledged that any such feedback could be expressed in future hearings.
Mr. McFarlane was concerned with the issue of setback in regards to the height of the structure, as Heather Ridge is a residential area.
Mr. Paff asked about “flapping” noise of the fabric in the wind and if there had been considerations made in regards to noise. He also inquired about potential noise from HVAC units.
Mr. Tannenbaum replied that there wouldn’t be any flapping of the structure’s fabric as it is a tight skin. He said that there wouldn’t be any noise from an air conditioner, as the building will not be air conditioned. Instead it will be cooled by its insulation and the use of fans.
McFarlane then asked about the size and location of the fans. He informed Mr. Tannenbaum and Mr. Malone that they should expect questions about noise at any formal hearing. He also asked about the charging stations for the golf carts that are located to the south of the tennis courts.
Mr. Tannenbaum stated that the charging stations would not be removed. He stated that the there are ways to address the noise from the heating system/fans and that they would be prepared to address.
Mr. McFarlane also asked about the size of the clubhouse at Heather Ridge, and how it would be utilized in Mr. Tannenbaum and Mr. Malone’s proposal.
Mr. Tannenbaum replied that the existing clubhouse is probably around 9,500 sq. ft. and that the proposed tennis club would be approximately 25,000 sq. ft. He stated that they need to further address exactly how the two facilities would interact, but that—likely—the tennis club structure would serve to accommodate overflow from events held at the clubhouse.
Mr. McFarlane asked about the landscaping in the southwest corner of the courts.
Mr. Tannenbaum replied that there are trees in this area, and that, perhaps, more trees of the same kind could be planted. However, there isn’t a lot of room in this area so this might not be possible.
Mr. McFarlane also expressed concern that units at particular addresses (those immediately to the west) will get less sun/light into their units as a result of the proposed structure. Chairman Sula was also concerned with the proximity of the proposed building to residential units at the southwest corner.
Mr. Tannenbaum stated that often the color of the fabric used in such structure is green, like grass, and translucent so that it allowed natural light to get through.
Chairman Sula expressed concern over the overall appearance of the structure, pointing out the use of canvass in an area with cedar and brick structures is significantly different. He said that he would like to hear from community residents—specifically, residents of Heather Ridge—as to how they feel they would be affected by the structure.
Mr. Tannenbaum stated that this would happen if they go forward for a public hearing. He noted that he and Mr. Malone have talked about the possibility of offering free memberships for Heather Ridge residents. He also noted that the tennis building structure may bring in new traffic and revenue to Heather Ridge through the increased use of the clubhouse/tennis court building. He noted that this could me additional revenue for Heather Ridge, which could result in reduced homeowner’s association fees, additional money for the association to make improvements to the community, and improve the attractiveness of the area for people buying homes.
Chairman Sula inquired about how the increase in traffic may otherwise affect the area—particularly, in tandem with the flow of traffic that already exists from the use of the golf facilities.
Mr. Tannenbaum replied that there seems to be no real over-lap between peak times for tennis play and the peak times for golf play. Indoor tennis is usually most active during bad whether (i.e., late fall, winter, and early spring), whereas golf is usually most active during early fall, late spring, and summer). The use of the clubhouse/tennis building for events would most often happen in the evening.
Mr. McFarlane suggested that—at future hearings-- Mr. Tannenbaum and Mr. Malone bring samples of materials they plan to use in the structure. He also suggested that noise and wind may be a particular concern that would need to be addressed. Both he and Chairman Sula had concerns over traffic, and Chairman Sula suggested a traffic impact study be done. Mr. McFarlane suggested a graph of traffic occurring during periods in which lessons would be given. The consensus was that Mr. Grieve be consulted on whether a traffic study would be warranted. Chairman Sula also brought up the issue of aesthetics, and suggested that the “bulk” of the structure may become an issue.
*Board member Gwenn Broughton arrived at 8:40 p.m. so that the Board now had a quorum. Chairman Sula announced that the remaining items on the agenda could be reviewed.
4. Public Comment
Chairman Sula asked the Public for any questions or comments regarding anything that is not on this evening’s agenda. As there were no responses, Chairman Sula closed the floor to the Public.
5. Approval of Plan Commission Meeting Minutes for June 20, 2012.
Mr. Sula noted that a correction needed to be made to the June 20, 2012 meeting minutes—that Village Attorney Bryan Winter’s name was spelled incorrectly with an “i” in place of what should be a “y” in his first name.
Mr. McFarlane motioned, seconded by Mr. Paff, to approve the June 20, 2012 meeting minutes as amended.
All “Ayes”, no “Nays”, none abstaining
Motion carried: 4-0-0
6. Minor Sign Exception: Vision Equip (1570 St. Paul)
Ms. Velkover stated that Vision Equip was seeking a Minor Exception to the Sign Ordinance to allow a reduction in the required 8” letter height for a ground sign. The subject property is located at 1570 St. Paul Avenue and is zoned I-2 PUD, General Industrial District as a Planned Unit Development.
Kevin McWilliams, owner of Vision Equip, was present. He requested the exception so as make use of an existing sign, re-facing it to identify his business with lettering of 6.8” tall, and adding the company tag line, “Smart Equipment Solutions” with upper-case letters of 3.9” tall and lower case letter of 3.6” (along with an attached brushed metal plaque at the top providing the address with numbers that meet the 8” requirement). It was also pointed out that the speed limit of the adjacent roadway (St. Paul Avenue) is 30 mph—and, because of this -- visibility of the sign should not be a problem.
Chairman Sula stated that, it being a typical sign exception—and, pointing out the low speed limit in the area—he, personally, had no problem with the exception.
Mr. Paff stated that, after considering the resulting measurements to be allowed in the exception, he had no concerns, either.
A motion for the Minor Exception to be granted was made by Mr. McFarlane, and seconded by Ms. Broughton.
“Ayes”: Sula, Paff, Broughton, and McFarlane
Motion Carried: 4-0-0
7. Open Meetings Act Training Reminder
Chairman Sula reminded the Board to complete the Open Meetings Act training and indicated that Ms. Velkover can provide assistance with accessing the website if needed. Chairman Sula encouraged the Board members to do the training sooner rather than later as he prefers not to have this item on the agenda for every meeting.
Chairman Sula asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. McFarlane made the motion, seconded by Mr. Paff.
All “Ayes”, no “Nays”, none abstaining
Motion carried 4-0-0
The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
Plan Commission Secretary