Village of North Aurora | Crossroads on the Fox

Plan Commission Minutes

VILLAGE OF NORTH AURORA
PLAN COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
MARCH 7, 2017

CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Brackett called the meeting to order.

ROLL CALL
In attendance: Chairman Mike Brackett, Plan Commissioners Mark Rivecco, Anna Tuohy, Tom Lenkart, Aaron Anderson, Doug Botkin. Not in attendance: Commissioners Connie Holbrook, Jennifer Duncan and Mark Bozik.

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth, Village Clerk Lori Murray.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated February 7, 2017
Motion for approval made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Rivecco. All in favor. Motion approved.

PUBLIC HEARING
1. Petition #17-04 (Randall Crossing): The petitioner requests the following actions in
The B-2 General Business District, Planned Unit Development:
a) A Special Use to allow a Major Change to a Planned Unit Development with deviations.
b) Map Amendment to establish the westerly 3.41 acres (Lot D) as R-3 General Residence District.
c) Site Plan Approval

Chairman Brackett opened the public hearing. Those who planned to speak at the public hearing were sworn in at this time. There were no audience comments. Chairman Brackett then closed the public portion of the hearing.

NEW BUSINESS
1. Petition #17-04 (Randall Crossing): The petitioner requests the following actions in the B-2 General Business District, Planned Unit Development:

a) A Special Use to allow a Major Change to a Planned Unit Development with deviations.
b) Map Amendment to establish the westerly 3.41 acres (Lot D) as R-3 General Residence District.
c) Site Plan Approval

Mike Toth noted that Commissioner Bozik said he was in favor of the development but does not want the townhomes to happen without the hotel being constructed. Staff, the Village Board and the petitioner have come up with a plan (being presented this evening) and have agreed that the townhomes project will not happen without the hotel.

Ed Roberts, addressed the Plan Commission. Also in attendance were Mike Schoppe of Schoppe Design Associates, Teresa Bateman of Next Generation Development and Kim Morgart of Cemcon, Ltd.

Concept:
To create four lots (hotel, townhomes and 2 retail/restaurant pad sites). Phase 1 would include the proposed hotel and townhomes.

Hotel: My Place extended stay product. Three stories and 64 rooms.
Townhomes: 40 Rental Townhome Units.
Two (2) Adjacent Restaurant/Retail Pad sites.

Roberts identified that there is a great need for an extended stay product in the area. With the continued growth, there will be additional need for multi-family properties.

Economic benefit – Projecting a $20 million dollar total positive tax impact over the next 20 years. There will be over $5M in estimated future sales tax and over $15M in future property taxes. The builder will have approximately a $16M dollar investment in this first phase for the townhomes and the hotel. It will create hundreds of new construction jobs which will create a greater economy and a new wallet share with negligible impact on the school district.

Mike Schoppe stated that the most important part of the development is to make sure that this project fits in with the existing development around it.

In terms of signage, the plan is to correlate signage with what already exists. Two residential signs are being proposed. One at Kilberry & Comiskey and the other at the residential entrance onto Ritter. The two monuments would be a smaller version of the residential monument that currently exists for Randall Highlands. In regard to the townhome landscaping, it will be the same as what currently exists.

To the west of the hotel and east of the townhome buildings, there will be a five foot architectural concrete block wall to run the length of the townhomes to provide a buffer between the residential and commercial.

Circulation – There are no driveway cuts between the commercial and residential. There will be a series of sidewalks that go north and south so that residents can get to the commercial areas.

The central driveway that heads south and divides the restaurant pads will be part of phase 1.

Teresa Bateman, Next Generation Development, stated that this product provides a lifestyle that gives a feeling of single family living.

Commissioner Anderson said that this proposal is a great utilization of a portion of the village that has gone undeveloped for a period of time. Anderson liked the idea of blending the uses as well as the economic impact. Anderson asked the developer about their history with unions. Bateman said that Next Generation is an evolution of another company and that for 60 years, they have used all types of labors; unions and non-unions. Bateman added that they find the right people for the market.

Commissioner Tuohy asked what the average stay is at a My Place hotel. Ed Roberts responded, 16 days. Roberts said that Mooseheart International is a partner in the hotel. They have three functions a year to visit the campus and other meetings and functions. During these times they will have those attendees stay at the hotel for several nights.

There will be a bar in the back of the hotel which will have its own entry and exit.

Tuohy asked, due to the proximity to the rental townhomes, if the hours of operation for service vehicles will follow suit with the other businesses in the village, since the garbage cans are right on top of the townhomes. Roberts said that they are very open to conversation with the Village on this topic.

Tuohy asked about the current occupancy for the Randall townhomes. Bateman said it is currently 95%. Average industry is 90%. By next month will be at 96%.

Rivecco asked about the couple of setback deviations. Toth said that the setback deviations go from a 20-foot to a 17-foot separation between the buildings. There are small fire exits control panel closets built into the plan which project out from the building by three feet. This is the only reason for the building separation deviation.

When asked about the construction timeline, Ms. Bateman stated that mass earth and infrastructure will take 45 – 60 days. The hotel will be first to break ground. Will then have a separate set of crews working on the townhomes location. The hotel is the primary target.

Lenkart asked about the landscape island on the hotel property in terms of how many spaces are required and how many are being provided. Toth said that the zoning ordinance states between every 10 spaces. Landscape islands are just required to be visible from the right of way. There will be a couple areas that will not meet the 10 space requirement. Lenkart asked how many parking spaces are required for hotels. Schoppe said 37 spaces per code. The petitioner has 71 parking spaces. Lenkart said he was fine with the setbacks.

Signage – The petitioner wants two signs for the townhomes and two for the hotel. Toth said they have asked what is in line with the PUD ordinance. They originally came with a larger sign for the residential portion. The petitioner will match the existing signage on the other side of Ritter and Comiskey. Lenkart was concerned that there will eventually be two restaurants there as well, and they, too, will want signs. How do you combine what their needs will be along with what My Place will be. Toth said that if it meets the sign code, it would come in by right. If it goes beyond the site plan and PUD, it would come through the Plan Commission process. A condition has been added so that there are no signs to be facing the west and no illumination that would face the townhomes. Lenkart asked if this includes the monument signs. Toth replied, no.

Lenkart said that a 10 x 12 sign is a big sign, therefore, the petitioner would have to be willing to split their sign to allow for signage for others businesses.

Commissioner Botkin said he welcomed the development.

Chairman Brackett asked if the property is going to be marketed as rental townhomes or luxury apartments. Theresa said they are marked as luxury rental apartments.

Brackett suggested an interior sidewalks to connect people with the retails sites, adding that it would allow for a better flow.

The Commission was hesitant about the color of the My Place sign. The petitioner said that My Place is very flexible and open to working with villages on this topic. Anderson said he would like the sign to blend in with the architecture. The petitioner was asked to consider adjusting the sign so that it is more appealing.

Toth noted a new condition that the R-3 zoning be contingent upon townhome development. Toth also noted that a Condition #8 could be added to have the sign blend to the hotel and be harmonious with the surrounding area. If it becomes an issue, the Board can drop it at a later date.

Motion made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Anderson to accept Staff’s findings for this property, including #7, that R-3 zoning is contingent upon townhome development, and wall sign coloration to match neutral earth tones of hotel and surrounding businesses. All in favor. Motion approved.

COMMENTS AND UPDATES
- Sign Variance at 921 Deerpath was approved by Village Board.
- Special use for 102 S. Lincolnway – COW discussion. They were in favor of the special use.
- Jeep Dealership and North Aurora Smiles were favorable and will go to ordinance at the next meeting.
- Noonan’s in the Clock Tower is coming to North Aurora.
- The Village issued the first temporary occupancy permit for the first building in the Springs and the clubhouse.

AUDIENCE COMMENTS
Parker Grabowski, owner of the Turf Room restaurant addressed the Commission regarding parking. Mr. Grabowski suggested the Village revisit the parking requirements. Mr. Grabowski said that, “When you say a hotel like this can have 36 parking spaces and meet requirements and they have 60 rooms and at least 10-12 employees, you know they will use at least 40-60 spaces. When you look at the new restaurant I built, you had required 101 spaces, I put in 216. Having 101 would have not even filled half of my restaurant.” Parker added that The Turf Room restaurant has 185 spaces, which is not enough. Customers park on the streets. Grabowski said that the hotel development proposed just took 15 parking spots away from what The Turf Room has been using at the back of that building. Bulldogs has half of their customers and all of their employees park down the street because they do not have the parking spaces they need.

Grabowski said that if the Village continues to do this, it will cause friction for something great that is happening to the area and there needs to be a solution to the parking.

Mr. Grabowski said he loves the hotel project and thinks it will be great but is very worried about the parking.

Grabowski also noted that having a cut-through on the fence will be a disaster. The commercial trucks and people and kids will just walk out because they feel that they are in a residential area but they are not, they are in a commercial area. Everyone who is driving around there is going to drive fast and it can be dangerous. When the development was put up there were day and night uses and there was shared parking. Now it is turning into all the same use. Grabowski said that his only concern is to revisit how much parking is actually going to be out there for what is surviving. A thought was to allow parking on one side of the street and put signs up through the whole area.

Village Administrator Steve Bosco said that Mr. Grabowski has a valid point about parking. The issue with Randall Highlands and parking is that it is a private subdivision. There are parking issues with Bulldogs and the Village has spoken with ownership, but the Village has no enforcement ability because it is not a public road. The Village is adamantly for the HOA forming in Randall Highlands so that it can work with that HOA to resolve issues. Randall Highlands has multiple facets to it. It has the single family home section, owner occupied townhome section, rental townhome section and the commercial section.

Commissioner Tuohy asked if the Village talked about shortening the landscape easement to allow for more parking. Toth said there is an auxiliary lot in Randall Highlands, between Bulldogs and the townhomes that may be available for additional parking.

Mike Schoppe noted, in reference to the 15 parking spots, that there is a cross access easement, which will prohibit the hotel owner from putting up no parking signs. That parking area has already been granted to the Turf Room.

ADJOURNMENT
Motion for adjournment made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Tuohy. All in favor. Motion approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lori J. Murray
Village Clerk


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