Development Committee Minutes
VILLAGE OF NORTH AURORA
DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2015
CALL TO ORDER
Trustee Guethle called the meeting to order.
Committee Members in attendance: Trustee Mark Guethle Trustee Mark Gaffino; Trustee Laura Curtis; Staff in attendance: Steve Bosco, Village Administrator; Mike Toth, Community and Economic Development Director; Cindy Torraco, Exec. Assistant
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion made by Trustee Gaffino and seconded by Trustee Curtis to approve the December 17, 2014 Development Committee Minutes. All in Favor – Motion Approved
Discussion on TIF Façade Grant for 8 Marvo Street
Toth provided an overview of the improvements that the owners of property at 8 Marvo are looking to make to their building. The work includes exterior siding, overhead garage door, doors and windows. Trustee Guethle said he is in favor of this.
Toth noted the owner would also like to re-do the parking lot and would like to come back later in the year to apply for another grant for the parking lot improvements.
Toth said these improvements are great for business and will help get customers in there. He noted the owner is making substantial improvements inside as well. Trustee Gaffino asked about sprinklers in the building, and Toth noted they are not required as the building would be mostly office space and they will not be storing cars in there. Trustees Gaffino and Curtis were also in favor of approving this T.I.F. grant.
Discussion on General Code Amendments
Toth noted staff is looking at three different potential code amendments.
The first amendment is to Chapter 8.24 Weeds and Diseased Trees. This amendment would be to change the regulation of dead trees on properties. Currently the Village Code states the Village can regulate any dead tree on a resident’s property, not just those in public right-of-ways. He noted this puts Village staff in the middle of neighbor disputes and requires the hiring of an arborist to confirm whether a tree is dead or not, or whether it is diseased. Toth noted an incident where the Village was involved in discussions between the property owners, and then their attorneys became involved and he said it was very cumbersome to enforce the code. Toth pointed out that Batavia only monitors trees on public property.
Trustee Gaffino stated he disagrees and would like to keep what is currently in the code. He noted that just because dealing with dead trees on resident’s properties could be more work, dead trees are unsightly and noted the Village doesn’t allow grass to go uncut, adding that people need to be required to take care of their property, just like taking care of the roof or the siding, it is part of owning a home.
Trustee Curtis asked if the Village could help fund the cost to remove a dead tree, noting the cost to remove one could be over $900. Toth stated that there is not a fund, however, if a resident states it is a hardship, they are given additional time and we work with them, as long as it is not an immediate threat.
Steve Bosco noted it is a good opportunity to have this process. He noted that staff has been put in middle of resident’s disputes and when staff goes out to look at the tree, we don’t always know if tree is even dead, maybe it’s just a dead branch that needs to be removed. Further, Bosco said there may be a way to tweak the code to give more definition for when village staff could go on to a property to look at a tree. There are issues with the determination of when a tree is dead or just diseased.
Trustee Gaffino noted trees add to a home’s value, however it is also an issue of safety and esthetics and if a tree is dead or diseased, it should be removed. Bosco suggested proposing the ordinance be changed to remove the word disease and just leave ‘dead’. Toth noted the portion of the code referring to “dying” could be removed and include language that would clear up the procedure for dealing with the dead trees.
Bosco noted that it can be easy enough when you are talking about a tree that is clearly dead, versus costs that are incurred by having an arborist come in to determine if the tree is dead.
Trustee Gaffino noted that if the Village has to send an arborist out, and if they want to dispute it then it should be at the resident’s cost. Toth noted it would eventually end up in adjudication.
Trustee Guethle provided an example of a resident whose neighbor had a box elder tree, which caused box elder bugs to invade her home and she wanted the Village to have her neighbor remove the tree. He researched the issue and did ask the neighbor to remove it, which they did. Bosco stated if you are not an arborist you don’t know if a tree is diseased or not and we would have to hire an etymologist to determine if a tree is diseased. Toth said staff will keep the part about dead trees go back and review the language based on the Committee’s comments.
The second code amendment is with regard to Section 9.16.060 Littering. Toth noted there have been a number of complaints about the baggies with rocks and landscape advertising that are thrown in driveways. There are several issues with this type of solicitation, such as freedom of speech. Staff drafted language to strengthen the Village’s ability to enforce litter issues. Including being specific with language and materials that is considered littering, by adding “plastic” and have require material to be securely affixed to a doorknob of the house. Toth noted the landscapers have been fiend and some of them are paying the fines, usually starting at $150 to $200.
This code amendment strengthens the language and changes the process for delivering their advertisements. Bosco noted Rhonda calls the number on the advertising, they deny it’s their business or that they delivered the baggies. It is hard to prove they are the culprits.
The third code amendment is to 15.28.010 International Property Maintenance Code Adopted. Toth noted for some reason the adopted 2006 maintenance code eliminated the 1 and 2 family dwellings, which are not addressed in the village code. Technically, this has not been adopted. The International Property Maintenance Code pertains to issue such as siding, paint, bugs and rodents, etc. The Village could not enforce an issue if it was to go to adjudication because this is not officially in the village’s code. If the village were challenged on an issue, we would have no leverage to enforce it. Staff was unsure as to why this was taken out of the code.
The Committee directed staff to bring this back to the Village Board for adoption.
Toth provided updates on some upcoming items.
Staff had a meeting with developers who provided a presentation for a mixed use project at Oak Street and Orchard Rod (the former Walmart site). Toth noted he did receive an escrow payment they are moving forward with the project. Staff will make sure detention issues will be resolved and will be closely monitored.
Toth also set up a meeting with a developer interested in property at Ice Cream Drive and Randall Road. They are looking to develop some sort of 3rd party distribution center, which is permitted use for this property. Was told that Oberweis is also looking to buy that property to build a new ice cream store and staff is meeting with them next week.
Toth noted he had a meeting scheduled today regarding Randall Square and possibly looking at an additional medical or professional office there.
Staff had a discussion regarding the self storage project at 310 S. Lincolnway, noting they are looking to begin sometime in August.
Toth noted the Hardware Restaurant is getting close to breaking ground and thinks the project will move quickly.
Trustee Guethle asked if there was any progress with the hotel. Toth noted he talked to Jay Schute who informed him they have several projects ongoing in Texas and Florida but are still on schedule for development in North Aurora.
Trustee Gaffino asked about a property on Lincolnway across from the A&W and thought he heard a Garage Door Company bought the property. Toth noted he has not aware of anything going on at the property. He noted the water situation is tricky, with the water pipe gong under Rt. 31. If the property was to de developed as a retail showroom or office space, this would not be an issue. Trustee Gaffino asked about alarm systems and sprinklers in the building. Toth noted he did meet with someone who was interested but they would need variances and parking reductions and Toth didn’t think his plan was realistic.
Further, Toth noted the tenant is out and the property did get cleaned up. He reached out to the Trust attorney for the property and offered the Village’s assistance with demolition of the building. The attorneys seem to see value in the building. The Village would be hard pressed to allow another gas station on the site, as it would have to be approved as a special use and there are four other gas stations in the vicinity. Toth noted if they were to reuse the building it would be best suited as a coffee shop or a florist, as the building is minimal.
Toth also noted the underground storage tanks are contained and the E.P.A. has signed off on the property. If someone were to develop the property they would have to dig up the tanks and clean up the sight. Bosco also noted the village owns a strip of right of way behind the building for water main. Trustee Guethle commented it could really be an environmental disaster and Toth said he’d keep an eye on it and keep the committee updated.
Chief Summer joined the meeting at 9:15.
Bosco gave a brief update on the issue of allowing chickens in back yards. He noted St. Charles allows them, and Geneva is working on the issue. Batavia allows them but the code states no roosters, and limits the number of chickens allowed, and requires special shed to house them. If North Aurora were to allow chickens, a resident would have to follow the building codes to build the structure, and chickens would not be allowed to just be in cages in a garage.
Trustee Curtis said she didn’t think chickens should be in an urban setting and doesn’t think it is fair to residents who move to an urban community and find out they might be living next to livestock and fowl. Trustee Guethle asked if residents are looking to have chickens for consumption of their eggs or to sell eggs.
Bosco noted Naperville allows chickens but their regulations are very strict and they limit the number of permits allowed. Homeowner Association regulations can be even more strict than the village’s code, which could limit where chickens would be allowed within the Village.
Bosco stated that Jim Bibby, village engineer, is looking at doing a comprehensive study of the properties along Rt. 31 to determine who owns what right-of-way. We need to know who owns which before we can fix any problems along Rt. 31.
Bosco said the new logo is now being used and has been incorporated into the village website. He expected some negativity but is encouraged that there were no negative comments on Facebook. Trustee Guethle said the website looks great. Bosco also noted that the Village is working on a responsive website and he said this was a $4,000 add on that he authorized, noting today’s websites are all being built this way. He is also working on having Weblinx create an email blast where residents can be notified of village issues via emails.
Rain issues and flooded areas are being monitored. Bosco noted they have a joint meeting scheduled with Aurora to discuss the flooding problems at Overland and Bede Circle by Marmion. Bibby will walk the land and review it and make a recommendation on what can be done. Since Abby farms put in a berm, this has affected the drainage there.
Trustee Gaffino made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Trustee Guethle
All in Favor – Motion Approved
Meeting was adjourned at 9:20 a.m.