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Plan Commission Minutes


Chairman Brackett called the meeting to order.

In attendance: Chairman Mike Brackett, Co-Chairman Jennifer Duncan, Commissioners Ana Tuohy, Aaron Anderson, Mark Rivecco, Doug Botkin, Tom Lenkart. Not in attendance: Commissioners Connie Holbrook and Mark Bozik.

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco and Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth.

1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated August 2, 2016
Motion made by Commissioner Duncan and seconded by Commissioner Botkin to approve the meeting minutes. All in favor. Motion approved.

Chairman Brackett called the public hearing to order. Those planning to speak were sworn in at this time. Chairman Brackett then closed the public portion of the hearing.

1. Petition #16-07: The Village of North Aurora requests a Sign Ordinance Text Amendment to create a special signage district for the North Aurora Auto Mall

2. Petition #16-08: The Village of North Aurora requests a Zoning Ordinance text amendment to limit the use of certain fencing materials along specific commercial and industrial corridors

1. Petition #16-07: The Village of North Aurora requests a Sign Ordinance Text
Amendment to create a special signage district for the North Aurora Auto Mall

Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth stated that the Village is working with the Gerald Group on signage packages for the North Aurora Auto Mall. The Auto Mall’s location is very isolated and has its own geographic area. In order to assist the Auto Mall’s goal and mission, the Village is proposing to relax the Sign Ordinance, similar to what was done for Route 31.

Jeff Gerald, one of the partners of the Gerald Auto Group, addressed the Plan Commission. He stated that the Gerald Group will invest close to $8 or $9 million into the Auto Mall over the next couple years. Gerald stated the importance of signage visibility due to their location and the need for signage to be visible from I-88, as well as, Orchard Gateway.

The amendment would allow additional signage height on Orchard Road and instead of having three signs per building façade, it would be capped at a specific amount. The amendment will allow the building to have the exposure from Orchard Gateway, I-88, Hansen Blvd. and Orchard Road.

Commissioner Duncan asked if the verbiage implies the basic Sign Ordinance as a starting point and then adding to that for the Auto Mall. Toth said that this would govern the Auto Mall but there are other aspects of the code than can speak to it. The Village will be looking at temporary signs next year, however freestanding signs and wall signs are the focus at this time. Duncan said there is no mention of landscaping. Toth said that some of the areas they are looking to have signs do not have area for landscaping. Duncan asked about the height of the current sign on Randall Road since the amendment stated that, “no free standing sign will exceed 20 feet in height along Orchard Road.” Toth said that a lot of the signs out there are around 10 or 20 feet.

Commissioner Botkin asked if the wall signs are prohibited from exceeding the roof line. Toth said that there is language in the existing code that would prohibit this. Toth said he did not include this in the provision and so it will not be a factor. Lenkart asked how this would not be a factor and suggested wording to state that it cannot exceed the roofline. Toth said that language can be included if that is the suggestion of the Plan Commission. Lenkart asked if there was concern regarding not limiting the number of wall signs up to 300 square feet. A comment was made that this is the way it currently is with the Auto Mall with numerous signs alongside a building.

Commissioner Lenkart suggested, when there is space, to add language requiring landscaping around signage. Chairman Brackett said there should be language in the amendment regarding landscaping. Toth noted that there are landscape provisions in the current Sign Ordinance.

Commissioner Tuohy asked what the height requirements are for signs on the west side of Orchard. Toth said 10 feet is the maximum height. Tuohy asked if there will be any pushback from the west side since the east side height will be amended. Toth said it will be amended for both sides along Orchard Road and Randall Road.

Motion made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Rivecco to accept the staff’s recommendation with the condition that the following language be added In addition to the existing signage regulations. Toth said he would adjust provision C, Regulations and Standards. Roll Call Vote: Tuohy – yes, Botkin – yes, Duncan – yes, Rivecco – yes, Anderson – yes, Lenkart – yes.

2. Petition #16-08: The Village of North Aurora requests a Zoning Ordinance text
amendment to limit the use of certain fencing materials along specific commercial and industrial corridors

There is language built into the code that requires a 50-foot buffer requirement for certain right of ways and commercial/industrial corridors along Orchard Road, Randall Road and the Route 31 corridor. Those provisions were carried over and chain link fences would be prohibited adjacent to those commercial and industrial corridors. The language on page 2 of the staff report proposes that language. Toth added that the only provision he questions is the wording of “prohibited when adjacent to and viewed from public right of way.” Toth asked if the Plan Commission would want to discuss the idea of making it prohibited when parallel to these sorts of right of ways. Commissioner Rivecco said he did not like the fact that the fence on Orchard Gateway is visible from the parking lot of the shopping center. Lenkart asked if the fence would be accepted if it were perpendicular to the road. Lenkart said that defeats the purpose of not wanting chain link fences, adding that the Village should require the use of consistent material that looks pleasant. Toth suggested that the Plan Commission might want to simply prohibit chain link fences on commercial properties otherwise it will be hard to regulate.
Commissioner Botkin said he was agreeable with the way the ordinance was written. Commissioner Duncan suggested prohibiting chain link if the fence is visible from a commercial area. Commissioner Lenkart asked if Toth could take a look at what is done in Elk Grove Village and Wooddale and how they regulate the use of chain link fences. Commissioner Anderson said he was okay with tabling the issue in order to get more information. Tuohy said she was not a fan of chain link fences and was in favor of tabling the item for now and discussing it at a later date. Motion made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Anderson to table the item until Staff has looked into more information.
3. The Village Staff would like to solicit feedback from the Plan Commission regarding
text amendments to the Sign Ordinance regulation of signage in business zoning districts

Section 15.48.100 of the Sign Ordinance regulates signs in business zoning districts. Staff worked closely with Teska and Associates to revisit the sign regulations for business districts in order to ensure the provisions are in line with the Strategic Plan goals and objectives. Staff requested input from the Plan Commission regarding the amendments.

-Free Standing Signs – will allow for a greater sign height on Orchard and Randall Road, not to exceed 20 feet. Lenkart suggested adding Butterfield Road to the provisions.

-Reference to ground signs to be changed to freestanding signs.

-Lenkart asked if a building can have a wall sign and a freestanding sign. For wall signs, Toth replied, three are allowed per façade and free standing signs allowed at one per street exposure. A double-faced sign shall be considered one sign.

-Tenant identification panels – stricken.

-Will get rid of wording “single-faced” on the menu signs.

-Canopy Signs – if having a canopy sign, the square footage of the text will count towards the square footage of the wall sign.

-Strike wording of “under canopy” signs.

The Commission was in favor of moving forward with sign amendments. The item will be brought back to a future meeting for a public hearing.

Motion to adjourn made by Commissioner Botkin and seconded by Commissioner Duncan. All in favor. Motion approved.

Respectfully Submitted

Lori J. Murray
Village Clerk

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