Village of North Aurora | Crossroads on the Fox

Plan Commission Minutes

CALL TO ORDER – 7:00 pm
Chairman Brackett called the meeting to order.

In attendance: Chairman Mike Brackett, Co-chairman Jennifer Duncan, Commissioners Connie Holbrook, Ed Sweeney, Mark Bozik, Tom Lenkart and Mark Rivecco. 

Not in attendance: Commissioners Mark Carroll, Andrea Rattray

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Wes Kornowske, Community Development Director Scott Buening, Village Clerk Lori Murray, Pete Iosue of Teska Associates. 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – February 7, 2012
Motion for approval made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Bozik. All in favor. Motion approved.

a. 12-002: 417 S. Lincolnway – Special Use, Variances, Site Plan Approval
(Speedway, LLC)

Chairman Brackett opened the public hearing.

Representatives of Speedway, LLC addressed the Plan Commission with the following presentation:

*Gas Station use was approved by Plan Commission on November 1, 2011 and Village Board on November 21, 2011
*Requesting Site Plan approval
*Conditional Use for a 24-hour operation
*Public Notice was made on 2/20/12

Project Summary
*3,900 s.f. C-store
*8 Dispensers
*1.626 total acres
*Zoned B-2
*Restricted access on Lincolnway
*Restricted access on Offutt

Existing Conditions
*24,000 s.f. vacant multi-tenant building
*4% landscaping
*Zero Setbacks met
*Potential for 1,728 new trips per day if building was full (per ITE)
*Parking is minimal, 2.4/1,000 s.f.
*3 curb cuts

Proposed Conditions
*3,900 s.f. occupied C-store
829% of the site is landscaped
*Setbacks are either met, or significantly closer to compliance than existing
*Creates 480 new trips per day (per ITE)
*9.74 parking stalls per 1,000 s.f.
*2 restricted curb cuts

*Requesting 72 s.f. monument sign
*Allowable is 64 s.f. 
*Needed for safety and convenience of public
*Significant improvement over existing
*Corporate standards are being waved for LED colors

Speedway reps said that the proposed design eliminates the curb cut on the north side of Offutt. In addition, access on the southeast corner of Offutt has been restricted. The curb cut is designed so that there will be signage and will restrict traffic southbound on Offutt. 

The proposed building will be 56 feet from Offutt, which is 75% further from Offutt and the houses than the current building.

Speedway’s engineer stated that they are working with IDOT to get the right-in/right-out approved, as well as working with the Village for access onto Offutt. 

Speedway proposed storm units which would convey water into pipes which would eventually lead to the Fox River. Speedway will be reducing the impervious area by 24%. 

The Utility Plan shows the addition of a grease trap on the south side of the building. There is also the addition of two separate water services. One for fire protection and the other for domestic flows. An environmental manhole will help to improve the quality of the water discharging from the site. The environmental manhole is a nutrient separating Baffle Box. All stormwater from the site goes through this device. 

Chairman Brackett opened the hearing for public questions. 

Linnea Meyle, 411 Offutt Lane, North Aurora – Ms. Meyle asked if drivers would be entering the gas station from Sullivan Road and driving onto Offutt Lane. Community Development Director Scott Buening said no, due to the proximity of Lincolnway. There is no entrance off Sullivan Road to the gas station. Meyle suggested the angle of the curb be changed to avoid having someone turn left. 

Chris Reid, 403 Offutt Lane, North Aurora – Mr. Reed said that there are contradictions in terms of what Speedway is requesting. Reed said that the plan was designed within the dimension of the current site and Speedway then asked to relax the zoning ordinance to fit the plan. Reed said that Zoning Ordinances are in place for a reason. Reed asked why Speedway wants this site if it does not conform to their plan. Speedway said that the zoning code is a unique hardship on the site. There is 48% of the site that can be used to put a building on if one takes the zoning code strictly. 

Reed asked what the positives are of the environmental manhole versus the detention pond. Reed asked how much flow the separator could handle and that the oil/water separator does not do the job of a detention pond. Reed asked what happens if the separator fails. Speedway said it would be controlled by the 24% reduction in impervious area. The environmental manhole unit has a high longevity/capacity and will be maintained by Speedway.

Kathi Colton, 409 Offutt Lane, North Aurora – asked what traffic signs will be on the property to keep cars from coming north. Speedway stated that there will be signs stating right-out only On Route 31. For traffic onto Offutt, signage will restrict drivers from turning right into the property. No left turn will be allowed onto Offutt. 

Jeff Morris,419 Offutt Lane, North Aurora – Mr. Morris said that on a heavy rain day, Speedway will not capture all of the water. Speedway said that the six-inch curbs will act like a damn from sheet draining. 

Gary Colton, 409 Offutt, North Aurora – Colton asked for the measurements of the sign. Answer was 72 s.f. (6’ x 12’). 

Larry Yellen of Yellen Real Estate, owners of the property to the north of the proposed Speedway property, said that currently the property is leased to Used Car City. Yellen said he was concerned with the location of the Speedway sign and if it would block his property. Scott Buening said that the sign will be located on the southwest corner of the property just inside the Route 31 right-of-way. The sign is over 100 feet away from the Used Car City and is an elevated sign and therefore will not block the Use Car City lot.

Yellen said that there is a well on the property, and asked if the water flow will affect the well that exists. Answer was no. Yellen said that for the past 30 years there has been a lane that runs from Route 31 between his property and the designated property which runs down Offutt Lane. Yellen asked if that access would still be available in order to reach the rear of his property from Route 31. Answer was that it would no longer be accessible since it would be turned into landscaping and curbs. 

Chairman opened the hearing for public comments

Tony Montana, 415 Offutt Lane, North Aurora – Montana said there were a number of contradictions to the presentation packet. According to Illinois law, if a home is up for sale, it must be disclosed that it is located by a 24-hour gas station. This is a negative impact. Property values will also decrease. Montana noted that the mailings sent out for the hearing went out to residents at the wrong town address. They were sent to Aurora with a wrong zip code, however, the original packets were sent to the correct addresses. Montana noted his concern on Speedway’s diagram at the northwest corner of the property that state “for future use”. Montana said that at the Village Board meeting of November 21, 2011, it was voted that only a half pork chop be allowed. Montana added that in terms of lighting, residents can still see the lights from Thornton’s Gas Station. Montana said he did not feel that the bushes and shrubs would provide enough blockage. Montana suggested a wall along Offutt. 

Linnea Meyle – 411 Offutt Lane, North Aurora – Meyle said she has lived at her property for the last 22 years. She agreed with improving property but did not believe another 24-hour business is the answer. Meyle said this would have a negative effect. Meyle said she was concerned with traffic and idling cars and trucks. Meyle said this would be a detriment to the people who live there. Meyle said that in terms of the hardship for the signage, the speed limit is 35 mph so it is not a high speed traffic area. Meyle said that if this is approved, to require Speedway to have a retention pond. Meyle also said that she is concerned with fumes and runoff. 

Chris Reed – Reed suggested the zoning ordinance not ease up on the retention pond. If the oil/water separator fails, the retention pond is the next source of help.

Jeff Morris, 419 Offutt Lane, North Aurora – Morris, who has lived in his home for the past 40 years, said that the impact of this is severe on the property owners directly across the street. He was very concerned with the noise and lighting. Morris suggested a 10-12 foot wall be constructed with landscaping on the Offutt side of the wall. Morris said he would like to see a different use for the property.

Chairman Brackett closed the public portion of the meeting.

Rebuttal by Speedway: Representatives from Speedway said they are using best management practices in the development of this property. Speedway will go through a number of different agencies for approval and the Village Staff will get one last look prior to issuance of the building permit. 

Speedway reps stated that they have a very extensive environmental department. In terms of spills, they have double wall tanks and pressurized systems that will send an alert if anything is out of sync. In terms of lighting, Speedway installs LED lights and the photometric plan will show lighting at zero foot candles. The lights are shielded and contained to the site. 

Mike McKnight, 7 Lovedale Lane, North Aurora – McKnight mentioned that there are children that live along this area and are in the street and therefore was concerned with their safety due to the street traffic that would come with the Speedway gas station. McKnight said that Offutt and Lovedale are Lanes, not street. Load limits were also a concern in terms of what the road is able to handle. McKnight said that if the Speedway Company wants to be a good neighbor, why haven’t they knocked on neighbors doors to see what they want. McKnight restated that his concerns were Safety, Traffic and what the roads can handle.

Commissioner Duncan mentioned that there had been talk about Offutt in the village’s Road Program. Buening said that the Village is in the process of trying to get grant funds for the work and that it is scheduled the Village’s 5-year road program. The village has limited ability to make any specific improvements to Lovedale since there is not a lot of room. Offutt has a 30-foot right-of-way so there is more ability to make improvements. Duncan asked if there will be sidewalks. Buening said that Speedway would build sidewalks on all three of their frontage areas. Duncan said she was impressed with a lot of the changes Speedway had made to their plan and that most of the issues have been addressed. Duncan asked for confirmation that the northern access is no longer on the plan. Speedway said that was correct. 

Commissioner Rivecco said that his issue was with circulation and asked if it had been resolved. Buening said that Speedway had a meeting with the fire department and Public Works to make sure that circulation was acceptable. It is not 100% ideal but they are satisfied with the circulation patterns. Rivecco said there seems to be a lot of parking spaces. Speedway reps said that there are more parking spaces than what is required, but that their intention with parking is to get customers into the stalls and into the store.

Rivecco said that the variance in the corner brings the landscaping setback to only 5 feet. Buening said that is public right of way and the site plan will eliminate those encroachments into the right-of-ways. 

Commissioner Sweeney suggested that the 6 spaces along Sullivan Road be eliminated to improve circulation. Sweeney agreed with buffering between the site and Offutt Lane residents. Sweeney also suggested Speedway improve the height of the landscape or put in a barrier wall. Sweeney asked where the supply tanker would enter onto the site. Answer was off northbound 31 and south pass the canopy and eastbound to the southeast canopy and would exit to Offutt south to Sullivan Road.

Sweeney asked how Speedway’s sign would compare to Thornton’s. Buening said that Speedway’s sign is slightly larger. Sweeney said he was not in favor of allowing Speedway’s variance for the sign and that the Village should stay with what is in the ordinance. Sweeney asked if Offutt Lane will be included in the 5-year plan. Buening said that the Village has applied for funds but have not heard anything at this time, adding that the Village can move Offutt up on the list if the Village receives the funds. Sweeney asked if there is any way to reorganize the road plans due to this situation. Sweeney said that he liked the drainage plan. 

Commissioner Bozik asked why Speedway chose to go against a retention on site and instead go with the environmental manhole. Speedway reps said that the detention is separate from the environmental treatment manhole. Detention is meant to detain and the environmental manhole is in place to treat the quality. Speedway said that there is a fee in lieu of that they are proposing. Bozik said that residents have a legitimate concern regarding water quality. If there is a minor spill of 4 to 5 gallons, the potential of overpowering that absorbent sock will not work. Bozik said he was concerned since the manhole is not designed to absorb the material from a spill. 
Bozik asked how much petroleum the manhole would hold. 
Bozik suggested landscaping be increase in order to have an acceptable barrier. Bozik also suggested panels for the hvac be provided along the entire back side.

Bozik asked about the height of the canopy. Answer was just over 20 feet. 

Bozik said that light spillage is a concern and asked if the canopy could be lowered and shields installed to shield the lighting and reflect the light more toward Route 31. Speedway said that they could look at putting something on the back side. 

Bozik said he agreed that there is no hardship for the signage. Bozik noted that Thornton’s is in compliance and they are right across the street. 

Bozik suggested shrubs on the east side that will be in bloom year round. Pete Iosue of Teska noted that the shrubs Speedway chose are fairly large and fast growing. Buening added that they are a mixture of vibernum and arborvitae.

Commissioner Lenkart asked about the average daily business cycle. Operations Manager for Speedway said it was approximately 1500 customers a day. Busy times are from 6-8 am and again from 3 – 6. Lenkart asked if a sign could be installed east of Offutt, off of the entrance that would read, “no thru traffic”. Buening said there is no way to enforce the thru traffic signs. Lenkart said he was concerned with the pump along the northern edge of the property. If cars pull in with a trailer, it restricts the flow of traffic along that edge. Eliminating that first pump would help improve the flow of traffic. Buening said that has been addressed and there is still the ability for two-way traffic in that area. 

Lenkart agreed that there should not be any more signage allowed. 

Commissioner Holbrook agreed with removing the one pump which will bring the canopy closer to the building, resulting in less light spillage. Holbrook said she would like Speedway to consider putting in a retention pond. 

At this time, Speedway addressed Commissioner Bozik’s question regarding the amount of petroleum that the manhole could hold. Answer was that 50-60 gallons can be stored in the oil/water separator. Village Administrator Wes Kornowske stated that Offutt & Lovedale Lanes will be paved in 2013. 

RECAP of Commissioner requests
Commissioners requested removal of 6 parking spots facing Sullivan in order to increase traffic flow. 

Buffer/barrier along Offutt Lane – increase landscape to mature shrubs or install a fence. 

Size of sign – Commissioners were not in favor of the variance request.

Detention pond - no need

Removal of 1 pump to avoid stacking – Majority of the commissioners agreed that the pumps could remain as submitted in the plan.

Driveway access – northeast driveway to remain as submitted until the roadway profile is a three- lane roadway with a center turn lane. Speedway said they were not asking for three access points in the future. 

Special Use Standards: 
1. Standard #1: All agree
2. Standard #2: All agree
3. Standard #3: All agree
4. Standard #4: Holbrook - disagree, Lenkart – disagree, Bozik – agree, Sweeney – agree, Duncan – agree, Rivecco – agree.
5. Standard #5: All agree
6. Standard #6: All agree
7. Standard #7: All agree

Variances Standards:
1. Standard #1: All disagree
2. Standard #2: All disagree
3. Standard #3: All agree

Variance for Setbacks:
1. Standard #1: All agree
2. Standard #2: All agree
3. Standard #3: All agree

Motion made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Duncan to deny the variance. All in favor. Motion approved.

Motion made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Sweeney to accept the petition for a special use. All in favor. Motion approved. 

Motion made by Commissioner Duncan and seconded by Commissioner Bozik to approve the site plan with the conditions of removing the 6 parking spots on the south side facing Sullivan and providing screen for the hvac on the roof, adding additional evergreen landscape on the east side and that photometrics comply with the Village’s lighting ordinance, as well as conditions recommended by Staff and that the access points be limited to two and if there is a potential to use the northern access point, that it will come back to the Plan Commission dependent upon the conditions of Offutt Lane. All in favor. Motion approved.

Motion to adjourn made by Commissioner Holbrook and seconded by Commissioner Lenkart. All in favor. Motion approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lori J. Murray
Village Clerk

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