VILLAGE OF NORTH AURORA
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING MINUTES
NOVEMBER 18, 2019
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Berman called the meeting to order.
In attendance: Mayor Dale Berman, Trustee Mark Gaffino, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mark Carroll, Trustee Tao Martinez, Trustee Mark Guethle and Village Clerk Lori Murray.
Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Bill Hannah, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth, Public Works Director John Laskowski, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel, Police Chief Dave Fisher.
AUDIENCE COMMENTS – None
TRUSTEE COMMENTS – None
1. Randall Crossing Concept Plan
Staff has been working with the developer of the My Place Hotel. They are now looking to develop Lot 3 (south of the hotel) for a multi-story mixed use that includes residential and commercial.
Ed Roberts, representing My Place Hotel, said that they are looking at phase 2 for multi-family for Randall Crossings. The hotel is up and running and the townhomes to the west of the hotel are leased. Lot 3 is now the focus. Roberts noted that the property has been up for sale and strongly marketed for a period of time. The proposal is for a three-story mixed use structure. There will be 28 studio & one bedroom apartments and approximately 2800 s.f. of retail commercial on the first floor. There are 15 one-bedroom apartments and 13 studios. When leasing the townhomes, there were numerous requests for studios or one bedrooms. The project would run through next year, break ground early spring, and would take eight months to construct. Roberts stated that one of the issues in previous discussions was the number of residents allowed to lease a studio apartment. Roberts said that the contract would stipulate no more than two adults in a studio. Lowery asked about demographics for those who would be renting. Roberts said that the target based on the market study and the townhomes, would be a blend of retirees and younger people (millennials). Trustee Gaffino asked if there would be any garages. Answer was no. Trustee Guethle asked about rent. Rent would vary from $1000 to $1250 per month.
Trustee Curtis said that the building has a very urban look and was not sure it would fit in with the area. Trustee Lowery asked if there is any possibility at making the façade more attractive. Roberts said absolutely. Roberts noted that the façade was designed to blend in with the Turf Room.
Trustee Carroll asked what the vision was for the commercial space. Roberts said they are working on a low profile café for the space to the east and are waiting to hear from the Board on allowed uses. Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth said that since it is in a PUD, the village has the ability to restrict the kinds of uses that go under the commercial spaces.
Trustee Gaffino said that when this project was originally discussed, the thought was for a stronger retail base and not just a small café. Residents are looking for restaurants. Edwards said that they are taking a more aggressive approach for the east lot for a restaurant.
Trustee Carroll said he liked the plan and that the facade fits in nicely with the Turf Room. Carroll said he would like to see a restaurant, but that has been discussed over the last 8 years and there have been no restaurants coming to the village. Carroll said he would like to see a restaurant on Lot 4. Toth said the board could restrict the zoning on Lot 4 as part of the PUD amendment, proposing it to be a restaurant.
Trustee Martinez said he liked the plan as well and that the location is convenient since everything is within walking distance and close to schools.
Mayor Berman said there is a need for one-bedroom and studio apartments and the project will fit in well.
Carroll asked if there are a certain number of parking spaces reserved for certain businesses. Toth said this can be put in as a restriction on the site plan.
Trustee Gaffino said he was in favor of the façade and that it would fit in with the surrounding area.
2. 161 South Lincolnway Special Use
PharmaCann has petitioned to have a recreational dispensary and continue with medical sales. Hours of operation would be 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m Monday through Saturday and 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. The use is not changing. Parking remains the same (4 per 1000) which is 7 parking spaces. The site has 155 parking spaces onsite. Both staff and the Plan Commission recommended approval of the petition.
A meeting is scheduled for the end of the week with the petitioner. Staff will bring an ordinance back to the board for approval.
3. Moka TIF
Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth said that the owners of the MOKA coffee shop are making a formal request for TIF Façade Grant funds in the amount of $232,758 over 5 years. Owners Scott and Jeanette Miller were present at the meeting and provided a brief presentation. Mr. Miller explained that the cost of building his MOKA shop in North Aurora was much higher compared to the cost to build in Wisconsin. Two stores in Wisconsin were built at $245,631 and $218,391 compared to $677,337 in North Aurora. After the entire project was complete, the end cost was $1,109,361. Of that amount, $413,120 is related to TIF type expenses. Toth noted that Teska has already confirmed that these costs are TIF eligible.
Toth stated that if this were to move forward, the village would have to have some sort of agreement with the property owner. The second page of the staff report listed stipulations associated with the agreement such as:
-proof that these expenses are legitimate
-contingent that the business is operational
-forfeit any obligations to ask for financial assistance on this property in the future
-the business would have to be in good standing with the Village
-in code compliance
-in good standing with the other businesses
Curtis was concerned that the cost of building the MOKA shop cost over a million dollars. Curtis said that Starbucks spends between $280,000 and $420,000. The MOKA shop is half the size but cost twice as much to build. Curtis said she was concerned that after five years the debt load will be too much to bear and the owners will close the business and move out.
Miller said that a lot of the Starbucks are more expensive in terms of building costs. In his particular situation, there were a huge range of costs. Miller added that he doesn’t plan on going anywhere and this business has been a plan of his for many years.
Trustee Carroll said that what is more at stake than the monetary value of the TIF funds is possible detriment to the village if a brand new building on Route 31 goes out of business. Carroll said it doesn’t make any difference if the property owner comes in at the beginning or end of the project to request TIF funds.
Toth asked the board if the proposed timetable was acceptable:
Year 1 $85,000
Year 2 $70,000
Year 3 $35,000
Year 4 $25,000
Year 5 $17,758
Trustee Curtis said that the village should provide something, but not the full amount requested. Trustee Martinez said that the owner did this in a very ethical way and was very conservative. Martinez said he wants businesses to flourish. Mayor Berman suggested $40,000/year for 5 years.
The board was in agreement and suggested $40,000 over 5 years.
1. Review of Executive Session Minutes date 5/6/19; 6/3/19; and 8/5/19
2. Review of the Release of Executive Session Minutes
Motion made by Trustee Guethle and seconded by Trustee Gaffino to adjourn to executive session to discuss executive session minutes and review release of executive session minutes.
All in favor. Motion approved.
(return from executive session)
Motion made by Trustee Guethle and seconded by Trustee Curtis to adjourn the meeting. All in favor. Motion approved.
Lori J. Murray