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 Ana Tuohy, Mark Rivecco, Aaron Anderson, Mark Carroll. 

Commission Connie Holbrook arrived at 7:15 pm. Not in attendance: Commissioners Mark Bozik and Tom Lenkart.

Staff in attendance: Pete Iosue of Teska Associates and Village Clerk Lori Murray.

Chairman Brackett welcomed Ana Tuohy to the Plan Commission Board. . Tuohy replaces former commissioner Ed Sweeney. 

1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated Sept 4, 2012
Commissioner Rivecco noted that Chairman Brackett was not in attendance at the last meeting and that Tom Lenkart was in attendance. Motion made by Commissioner Rivecco and seconded by Commissioner Duncan to approve the Minutes with those changes. All in favor. Motion approved.

1. 12-007: 540 Sullivan Road / Fairview Dental – Variance Application for Electronic Sign

Chairman Brackett opened the public hearing.

Pete Iosue of Teska Associates stated that proof of mailings to adjacent property owners was received by the applicant. A newspaper ad regarding the public hearing as well as a sign on the property was completed. The petitioner, Fairview Dental, requested a variance to the sign ordinance. Fairview Dental has an existing. monument sign that is currently in compliance. They are requesting to add a full color electronic message board onto the existing sign. The Village’s current sign ordinance does not allow for full color. 

Brandon Weis of Aurora Sign Company (1100 Route 34, Aurora, IL) was sworn in to the public hearing. Weis stated that Fairview Dental at 541 Sullivan Road is seeking a variance to allow their electronic message center to display full color artwork in lieu of currently allowed single color. Weis said the variance does not seek to increase the height, size, placement or any other restriction of the current sign ordinance. Fairview Dental is making every effort to install the latest in technology and quality, and they would like to provide information for community events and service organizations in addition to their messages. Weis said that the unique visual power of full color message center leads to a thriving business. There are a number of disproven myths surrounding this technology. For example, there has never been a single documented case that a sign caused a traffic accident or that multi-color signs are more distracting than single color. IDOT is supportive of full color LED images on billboards throughout the state of Illinois. Weis noted that surrounding communities allow full color applications. 

Public Comments – there were none.

Chairman Brackett closed the public portion of the hearing. 

Commissioner Comments
Commissioner Duncan asked if the new sign would be a fixed or moving sign. Weis said it would depend on the program, adding that static images would be more advantageous than something that is constantly moving. Weis said that the sign does have the capability for moving images. 

(Commissioner Holbrook arrived)

Pete Iosue commented that the current ordinance only allows for static images that can change after 30 seconds. 

Commissioner Rivecco asked if the height of the sign would change. Weis said it will not be higher than what the ordinance allows. Fairview Dental’s current sign will increase to 10-feet which is allowable per the current ordinance. Rivecco asked if the variation request from Section 15.48.160 page 5 should actually be page 4. Iosue said that was a typo and should reference page 4. 

Commissioner Anderson said that he has had a great deal of experience with electronic signs and the variance process, and was involved in a similar situation with the City of Aurora for the Aurora Painters District Council 30 sign. The same sign manufacturer was used and they had nothing but compliments from the surrounding communities. The sign was also used to advertise NA Days, NA Mother’s Club Annual Gala, NA Baseball Registration, and other community events. Anderson said he was completely supportive of the change in the number of colors for the sign. 

Commissioner Carroll asked why the Village only allows for one color. Iosue said that at the time the impetus for having one color was because electronic signs were not addressed before in the sign ordinance. The Plan Commission knew that electronic signs would be coming before the Board in the future and therefore made this condition. 

Commissioner Holbrook suggested revisiting the sign ordinance instead of simply allowing this to be approved by way of a variance. 

Commissioner Tuohy agreed that this is more of an ordinance change. Tuohy asked if the pin numbers are the same or should there be two different pin numbers. Iosue said that there is a pin number for each parcel. The petitioner then noted that the property is actually on 3 parcels. One parcel is along the backside of the main building. Iosue noted that if the Plan Commission grants the variance, it would only apply to the main parcel that contains the building.

There was some discrepancy as to the number of seconds between sign changes on the electronic board. Iosue noted that the image would change after 30 seconds. The Plan Commission noted the change to be allowed after 5 seconds. Iosue said he would research and clarify this for the Board and the applicant. 

Commissioner Carroll said the Plan Commission could probably find a hardship since limiting the sign to a single color creates a hardship to sign owners due to the advancing technology and that it would be cheaper and more efficient to install multi-color signs. Carroll added that if the Plan Commission is going to address this in the ordinance at a later time, it does not make sense to make the petitioner wait. 

Iosue said that he previously took the application to the Development Committee to get their opinion. The village did specifically write the code to eliminate the multi-color and didn’t see the hardship. Iosue said this is why he recommended amending the ordinance. When it went to the Board, did not get much support in changing the ordinance. Anderson asked how the Development Committee viewed the request. Iosue said they supported the sign and granting the variance. 

Commissioner Anderson said he would rather deal with the variance requests on a one by one basis so that the Village has more control. 

Commissioner Duncan said she was not sure the Plan Commission could use an ordinance as a hardship. Iosue said that the point of the hardship is site specific. 

Chairman Brackett asked about Aurora Sign Company’s other signs in the area. Weiss noted Provena Mercy Center at Lake & Sullivan and Heartland Blood Center at Highland & Indian Trail. 

Commissioner Rivecco said he liked the sign and was in favor of full color signs in the ordinance. Rivecco said he supported potentially granting this variance and recommending changing the ordinance. 

Commissioner Tuohy said she liked the sign, but wanted the Village’s Sign Ordinance reviewed. 

Commissioner Carroll stated that something definitely has to be done with the current ordinance. If this request is approved, something still needs to be done with changing the ordinance. 

The Plan Commission was in agreement with changing the current sign ordinance. 

1. That the property in question cannot yield a reasonable return if permitted to be used only under the conditions allowed by the regulations governing the district in which it is located.
Roll Call Vote: Anderson – agree, Carroll – agree, Holbrook – agree, Duncan – disagree, Rivecco – agree, Tuohy – agree. (Agree – 5, Disagree-1).

2. That the plight of the owner is due to unique circumstances. 
Roll Call Vote: Rivecco – agree, Tuohy – agree, Duncan – disagree, Anderson – agree, Carroll – agree, Holbrook – agree. (Agree – 5, Disagree – 1).

3. That the variation, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality
Roll Call Vote: Holbrook – agree, Anderson – agree, Carroll – agree, Duncan – agree, Rivecco – agree, Tuohy – Agree. (Agree – 6, Disagree – 0). 

Motion made by Commissioner Carroll and seconded by Commissioner Anderson to recommend that the request for variance be allowed and that the current ordinance is revisited. All in favor. Motion approved.

Motion to adjourn made by Commissioner Holbrook and seconded by Commissioner Duncan. 

Respectfully Submitted,

Lori J. Murray
Village Clerk

Contact Village Hall

Village of North Aurora
25 East State Street
North Aurora, IL 60542

Driving Directions

Hours: Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Village Departments

Administration (630) 897-8228 ext. 224
Administration Fax (630) 897-8258
Police (630) 897-8705
Police Fax (630) 897-8700
Finance (630) 897-8228 ext. 225
Community Development (630) 897-1457 ext. 222
Code Enforcement (630) 897-1457 ext. 231
Building and Zoning (630) 897-1457 ext. 259
Public Works (630) 897-8228 ext. 260
Water (630) 897-8228 ext. 223
Fire District (630) 897-9698