An Attentive Municipal Organization that Connects with Community, Commerce, and Nature.

Plan Commission Minutes

VILLAGE OF NORTH AURORA
PLAN COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

CALL TO ORDER
Vice Chairperson Duncan called the meeting to order.

ROLL CALL
In attendance: Vice Chairperson Jennifer Duncan, Commissioners Anna Tuohy, Aaron Anderson, Tom Lenkart, Doug Botkin, Mark Bozik and Connie Holbrook

Not in attendance: Chairman Mike Brackett

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth and Information Technology Manager Dave Arndt

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated March 3, 2020
Motion for approval made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Lenkart. All in favor. Motion approved.

PUBLIC HEARING

1. Petition #20-04 (38W229 Oak Street): The petitioner, LMN Opportunities, Inc., requests the following actions on the subject property:

1) Establishment of the R-3 General Residence District zoning
2) Special use to allow a Planned Unit Development with deviations from the Zoning Ordinance
3) Site Plan Approval
4) Preliminary Final Plat of Subdivision

Vice Chairperson Jennifer Duncan opened the public hearing.

Valerie Shoger, 1473 Hearthstone Lane, stated that she is concerned about the number of units in each building. At the April 15, 2019 meeting, it was stated that the proposed development would consist of luxury units. Shoger feels that the excessive number of units and decreased square footage does not appear to be luxurious and will not enhance the surrounding neighborhoods. She is concerned that there is not much staggering of the units and they give off a “building blocks” appearance.

Keely, (Zoom screen name), stated that she also has the same concerns as Shoger. She asked what the benefit is to connecting Hearthstone Lane to Forest Ridge Drive. Keely asked how the units can be advertised as luxury but still be reasonably priced. She stated that she is also concerned about the storm water and asked what the plan is for drainage.

Austin Curran, 1417 Hearthstone Lane, stated that he had similar concerns as the previous residents since it impacts their neighborhood more than any other. Curran asked why the Village is considering townhomes over single family residences. He is also concerned about water drainage in the area and would like to hear more about the retention pond that is proposed. Curran stated that he is concerned about how it will impact the value of homes in the area and how it could also lead to an increase of traffic.

Cheryl Stetter, resident in Windstone Place, stated that one of her biggest concerns is the impact of drainage. Stetter agrees with the other residents about the townhomes being classified as luxurious when they will be facing an empty field. She asked if they are planning on allowing renters since that deters away from the luxury feel.

Sonja Flores-Gomez, 87 Windstone Drive, stated that she has the same concerns as everyone else. Flores-Gomez believes that the number of units is excessive for such a small parcel of land. Reducing the number of units or adding a park should be considered. She is concerned that there is going to be a large increase of traffic and that drainage is going to become an issue.

The petitioner, Nick Lamagna, LMN Opportunities, Inc., responded to the concerns and questions of the residents in attendance. He stated that the layout of the townhomes cannot be avoided in order to accommodate drainage. The Comprehensive Plan for this particular area supports the development of townhomes, which is why the developer chose to pursue this route. Lamagna stated that the size of the townhome does not determine whether or not the units are luxurious. Rather, it’s the façade, open floor plan, and the materials that create the luxury feel. Lamagna explained that the units will not be renter-occupied and will be buyer owned. There is a lack of premium quality homes in the area and they are hoping to fill that void.

Community and Economic Development Director Mike Toth, displayed an image from the Comprehensive Plan showing the parcel in which the townhomes will be located. He stated that there is an intergovernmental agreement with the Village of North Aurora and Kane County Department of Transportation for Oak Street in between Randall Road and Orchard Road, which does call for an intersection at Forest Ridge Drive. This is continued south to connect with Hearthstone Lane and to allow secondary access to the property.

Ray Sikkema, Webster, McGrath & Ahlberg, Ltd., discussed the drainage concerns brought up by the residents. He stated that the wetlands exist above the northern drainage basin on the property. Since the wetland is protected, unfortunately there is nothing that can be done for drainage for that particular portion of the property. Drainage will flow into the north detention basin and the overflow will then travel through the drain tile. Sikkema explained they will be improving drainage flow by incorporating a 12” storm sewer that will be connected to the existing drain tile. He stated that the units will be similar in height to the adjacent properties on Windstone.

2. Petition #20-05: The petitioner, Derek Knuth, requests an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to allow Motor Vehicle Repair and/or Service as a permitted use in the I-1 Limited Industrial District.

Vice Chairperson Jennifer Duncan opened the public hearing. There were no public comments. Jennifer Duncan then closed the public portion of the hearing.

NEW BUSINESS

1. Petition #20-04 (38W229 Oak Street): The petitioner, LMN Opportunities, Inc., requests the following actions on the subject property:

1) Establishment of the R-3 General Residence District zoning
2) Special use to allow a Planned Unit Development with deviations from the Zoning Ordinance
3) Site Plan Approval
4) Preliminary Final Plat of Subdivision

Community and Economic Development Director Mike Toth stated that this item was previously presented to the Village Board on April 15, 2019 for a concept review only. At that time no action was taken and the project was favored by the Village Board. Since then, the petitioner has worked on the proposed development to get it where it is today. The 8.63 acre property is currently zoned as a Farming District in unincorporated Kane County. The applicant is proposing five (5) townhouse buildings, each consisting of six (6) units, and one (1) two-family dwelling. Toth stated that the comprehensive plan does recommend single-family attached dwellings for this area of land.

The petitioner is requesting that the property shall be zoned as R-3 General Residence District. At this time, a map amendment is not being pursued since the property has not been annexed into the Village. The property meets all of the bulk requirements for the R-3 General Residence District. Toth stated that the special use request is required since the property is greater than two (2) acres. There are two (2) deviations from the zoning code being requested for the development. The use standards in Chapter 11 of the Zoning Ordinance state that garages shall be rear or side loaded. Toth stated that the proposed development will be oriented towards the west (Forest Ridge Drive) and will therefore be front loaded garages. The deviation is supported to have the garages as front loaded in order to minimize the traffic to the east and keep everything on Forest Ridge Drive. Toth explained that parking is permitted on Forest Ridge Drive, but the larger driveways should accommodate more vehicles which will eliminate excessive parking on the street. The second deviation relates to onsite trees. Per the Zoning Ordinance, multi-family properties shall have one (1) tree per 500 square feet of lot area. Toth stated that the landscape plan represents a barrier to the east and also factors in drainage for the property. Deviations have been granted in the past for lot landscaping. Toth stated that there is a condition that the parkway trees will be of variety per the subdivision ordinance. Site plan approval is required for all townhome developments. Toth explained that the building footprints were included in order to allow the engineers to consider site detention and storm water management.

Toth acknowledged that staff recommends approval for the special use request based on the understanding that four (4) conditions are met. Any unit that has a side wall facing the street shall include a front façade in order to eliminate the appearance of blank walls. All site improvements shall be confined within the building footprints. Trees that meet a specific standard will be evaluated by the Village for preservation. Finally, all parkway tree species will be provided per the Subdivision Ordinance. Toth recommended an additional condition that the entrance to Hearthstone Lane be blocked off during construction and that it be used for emergency purposes only.

Nick Lamagna stated that he has been working closely with Mike Toth and the Village of North Aurora in order to meet all criteria and guidelines set by the Village. He stated that the proposed townhomes will have a luxury appeal and will be comparable to the other multi-family developments in the area. Lamagna believes there is a shortage of luxury rentals in the area and stated that this development will provide people with a larger living space, especially in a time where many people are working from home. Matt Haylock, Archamerica, Inc., stated that they created a fresh looking façade with cooler hues of color. Various types of material are being used including stone along the base, cement board, and standing seam aluminum on the eaves, along with other textures and materials to create a contemporary appearance. Haylock described the interior of the townhomes, which include three (3) and four (4) bedroom units, both with an open concept. The units range from 2,000 – 2,400 square feet, depending on the number of bedrooms.

Plan Commission Comments:
Commissioner Bozik stated that he shares concerns with the lack of on-street parking. He asked what the plan is for Outlot B, which is the cell tower. Bozik asked if anything will be done to make that area aesthetically pleasing. He stated that the location of the two-unit building seems awkward and suggests a single-family residence instead. Lamagna responded that the driveways had already been readjusted to accommodate the parking concerns. He stated that the cell tower will remain in the same location. Lamagna explained that the Comprehensive Plan called for attached homes, so the duplex made sense.

Toth stated that when a property is annexed into the Village, there are certain fees that are paid to the Village of North Aurora. When this development comes in, a fee will be paid that will go to the Park District and School District within North Aurora. Toth asked about the possibility of having a cul-de-sac installed and Sikkema responded that Fire Departments are not in favor of cul-de-sacs if longer than 1,000 feet, which would be the case for this development. Bozik stated that North Aurora’s Fire District does not allow cul-de-sacs over 300 feet.

Commissioner Botkin stated that his questions had been answered and he had no further comments.

Commissioner Lenkart stated that the presentation was very thorough and thought the exterior looked nice. Lenkart asked if anyone has reached out to the property owner of the parcel to the west. Toth responded that he spoke to the property owner years ago and has not heard of any developments on the property. Toth stated that the west side of Forest Ridge Drive does not have sidewalks or parkway trees. This will be discussed during the hearing process. Lenkart stated that a four (4) bedroom townhome could potentially have multiple vehicles, which means cars could be parked all along the street, creating congestion. Sikkema responded that the driveways are 16’ wide, which will accommodate for two (2) cars in the driveway and two (2) cars in the garage. Lenkart asked how wide the street was. Sikkema responded that the street from curb to curb is 28’. It will be tight, but there is room to accommodate traffic.

Toth reminded the Plan Commission that the engineering still has to go through final engineering, so this is not the final plan for the development.

Commissioner Holbrook stated that her questions had been answered and she had no further comments.

Commissioner Tuohy asked what the cost point will be for the units. Lamagna responded that they do not have the information right now due to the market changing with COVID-19. He stated that a ballpark range would be $275,000 - $325,000. Tuohy stated she shares the same concerns about parking and would like to have the concern looked into. She asked if a traffic study has been completed. Toth responded that it has not. He stated that there is a density formula in the subdivision ordinance that calculates the fees for developments. Based on the density formula, the townhomes could bring in 71 new residents. Toth indicated that staff would look into the road width of Forest Ridge Drive to see if this could be accommodating for parking concerns. Tuohy asked if there will be a sidewalk on the property. Toth responded there is one proposed on the eastern side of the property and along Oak Street. Tuohy asked if a crosswalk was being installed from the south side to the north side. Toth responded that the plan does not call for a crosswalk. Tuohy stated that children will be crossing the street to Jewel Middle School and it could be a hazard. Toth responded that a stop sign was installed at White Oak Drive to the east to help move pedestrians safely. Tuohy asked if there will be a Homeowners Association (HOA). Toth responded that there will be an HOA which will be included in the annexation agreement. Tuohy asked if garbage will be picked up at the end of the driveways. Lamagna responded yes. Tuohy stated she agrees that the front elevation makes it hard to differentiate one unit from the other. Lenkart stated that the development area has enough room to stagger the buildings so it creates more depth to the townhomes. Haylock responded that the buildings will be staggered 8’ and the individual units are staggered 2’ to 3’. Tuohy stated she had no more questions.

Commissioner Anderson asked how long LMN Opportunities has been in business and how many projects have been completed similar to this. Jared Osmond, LMN Opportunities, responded that he has completed many projects in the area, including townhome developments. Lamagna stated they use different entities for their developments and collectively, they have over 50 years of experience. Anderson asked if financing has been secured for the project. Osmond responded that they have the money secured for the development. Anderson asked if there are turn lanes coming off of Oak Street. Toth responded there will be a turn lane into the property both east and west bound. Toth asked if there will be a decelerated lane for people turning right into the property going eastbound. Sikkema responded that there currently is not one being proposed, but it could be looked into if necessary.

Bozik asked how they will accommodate on-street parking. Toth responded that staff recommended the proposed layout of the townhomes, since it would make the most sense for traffic. He explained that staff will look into the width of Forest Ridge Drive.

Toth recommended that the fifth condition be added for the special use approval which would state that the entrance to Hearthstone Lane be blocked off during construction and that it be used for emergency purposes only. Bozik recommended a sixth condition to add fencing around the cell tower.

Motion for approval for the establishment of the R-3 General Residence District zoning made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Botkin. Vote: Tuohy – Yes, Holbrook – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Bozik – Yes. Motion approved.

Motion for approval of the special use to allow a Planned Unit Development with deviations from the Zoning Ordinance with the two (2) conditions being added, for a total of six (6) conditions, made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Holbrook. Vote: Tuohy – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Bozik – No, Botkin – Yes. Motion approved.

Motion for approval of the site plan made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Botkin. Vote: Tuohy – Yes, Holbrook – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Bozik – No. Motion approved.

Motion for approval of the preliminary final plat of subdivision made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Holbrook. Vote: Tuohy – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Bozik – No, Botkin – Yes. Motion approved.

2. Petition #20-05: The petitioner, Derek Knuth, requests an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to allow Motor Vehicle Repair and/or Service as a permitted use in the I-1 Limited Industrial District.

Mike Toth presented the background information on the petition. Toth stated that the property at 119 Butterfield is located in the I-1 District and is the location of the former Backyard Builders business. The motor vehicle repair business is operating under a temporary use Ordinance that was granted by the Village Board as the zoning wasn’t approved when they moved onto the property. Toth then explained the various zoning options afforded to the business operator. The business operator chose to go through the text amendment. Establishing the use as a permitted use would allow them greater flexibility if they one day owned the property. Toth then when through the various I-1 District properties in the Village. The motor repair use is quasi-commercial/industrial. Toth then listed the classification status of the use in other zoning districts. Toth stated that he did not advise that the business operator pursue the rezoning of the property, but could support the text amendment as the use is commercial in nature. Toth noted the three (3) use standards included in the Zoning Ordinance, which would still apply if the use was a permitted use.

The petitioner, Derek Knuth, stated that he is the owner of Red’s Garage. He stated that he wants this property to be his ‘forever home’ and eventually would like to purchase the property.

Plan Commission Comments:
Commissioner Tuohy asked about internal site circulation. Knuth responded, there is an access drive located next to the building. Tuohy asked about chemical removal. Knuth stated that they have a company that comes to remove the chemicals.

Toth reminded the Plan Commission that the petition is not a special use and the motor vehicle repair use would become a permitted use on all I-1 District properties.

Commissioner Lenkart asked about the hours of operations. Knuth responded, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. - noon. Lenkart then mentioned the previous Walmart petition and how they made them move the auto repair from the east side of the building to the west side of the building to keep it away from the townhomes. He then asked how the noise will be kept low. Knuth responded, all work will be inside and the lifts are located on the other side of the building. The doors will also remain closed. Lenkart asked about the north end of the property. Knuth responded, that area is gravel. Lenkart stated that he wouldn’t want any storage there. Toth mentioned that the use has to operate inside and the area to the north is a deteriorated limestone. Parking would be prohibited there unless they were to install asphalt or concrete. Lenkart stated that noise travels and he doesn’t want to inconvenience the neighbors. Vice Chairperson Duncan mentioned that the property is an industrial property.

Commissioner Anderson asked about the $4,300 filing fee. He asked if there was a way to lower that fee. Toth responded, $4,000 is an escrow deposit and the filing fee is $300. The petitioner was only asked to deposit $1,000 into an escrow account.

Commissioner Bozik stated they’ve done nice improvements and welcomed them to town.

Motion for approval of the special use made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Anderson. Vote: Tuohy – Yes, Holbrook – Yes, Lenkart – Yes, Botkin – Yes. Motion approved.

OLD BUSINESS – None

PLAN COMMISSIONER COMMENTS AND PROJECT UPDATES
Mike Toth noted the two items for the October 6th Plan Commission agenda. Those items include a new restaurant in Orchard Commons and a craft cannabis growing facility on South Street. Commissioner Tuohy asked about the mixed use building at Randall Crossing. Toth stated that the foundation is in and some of the underground plumbing work has been completed on that project. Toth then gave a brief update on the North Aurora Smiles project.

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

Respectfully Submitted,

Natalie Stevens
Acting Village Clerk


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

Village Hall (630) 897-8228
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 Dev. (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