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

Committee of the Whole Minutes

Monday, February 19, 2024

Mayor Gaffino called the meeting to order.

In attendance: Mayor Mark Gaffino, Trustee Jason Christiansen, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mark Guethle, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Todd Niedzwiedz, Trustee Carolyn Salazar

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Jason Paprocki, Community Development Director Nathan Darga, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel, Public Works Director Brian Richter, Police Chief Joe DeLeo.

AUDIENCE COMMENTS – See Discussion Agenda Item 2



1. 108 John Street TIF Façade Grant Program
Community Development Director Nathan Darga stated that the North Aurora Tax Increment Financing Grant Program offers reimbursement of up to 50% of the cost of improvements for storefronts and building façades up to a cost of $20,000. The owner of 108 John Street had requested funding for a new black awning over the front entrance of the building. Darga reminded the Board that in 2018 the Village awarding funding for similar awnings on the building next door, this enhancement would continue the façade theme through the block. The building owner was requesting $2,837.50 in TIF funds for the improvement.
The Village Board was in favor of awarding the funding for the improvement.
2. Petition #24-01; 302 Mitchell PUD
Director Darga stated that Prologis was proposing to construct a new warehouse building at 302 Mitchell Road, next to the existing warehouse at 300 Mitchell Road. The proposed new building would be 439,380 square feet. The property was originally annexed in 1987 and zoned for industrial uses. In 2007, Liberty had the plat approved which created three lots for warehouse development as well as various out lots for storm water detention. Lots 2 and 3 were mass graded in 2008, but due to the recession, no further building was completed at that time. The building at 300 Mitchell was completed in 2015. The balance of the site including lot 2 was mass graded with utilities completed in 2017. Since the lots were platted, Village code has changed and a PUD is required for any development over two acres. Prologis was on hand to provide a presentation regarding the proposed building. They were seeking approval for a special use PUD, as well as site plan approval for a new building that would be a mirror image of the existing building with some minor differences. The project went before the Plan Commission at their last meeting, many residents spoke at that meeting with many comments about light and sound emissions from the existing building. Taking into account the discussions from the Plan Commission meeting, staff had arrived at a list of proposed conditions which included:
The existing tree line/landscaping on the north end of subject property shall be maintained and any dead or missing landscaping shall be replaced so that the continuous landscape screen is always in place.
All outdoor lighting shall follow the Village’s Outdoor Lighting Ordinance (Chapter 8.32). Additionally, any light poles located along the norther drive aisle shall be limited to 20 feet in height from surrounding grade.
On-site management shall effectively monitor and regulate all on-site trucking activities in order to minimize any light, sound and odor emissions as well as any other performance standards per Section 12.5 of the Zoning Ordinance. Specifically, the drive aisle on the norther side of the building shall be kept free and clear and shall have no truck parking, standing, idling, or stacking.
Any perimeter security fencing shall be black, metallic, non-chain link construction and limited to eight feet in height. Additionally, the truck court/trailer parking area shall be screened with an eight foot tall solid wood or vinyl fence on the north side.
All business activities shall be conducted completely within the confines of the buildings.
The keeping of any goods, material, merchandise or equipment outside of the building(s) shall be prohibited
All dumpsters located on the subject property shall be screened per Section 14.11.A of the Zoning Ordinance.
The petitioner shall have the right to land bank parking stalls at any time. Future installation of land banked parking stalls shall be subject to building permit approval.
A separate building permit shall be required for any guardhouses or gates so the Village can validate the optimal location in order to avoid any potential impact on site access and circulation.
Any large water user (over 5,000 gallons per day) must provide information for a water impact study and pay an impact fee per section 13.24.060
Kelsey Perrin, Vice President of Capital Deployment with Prologis was on hand to present to the Board. Ms. Perrin reviewed the Prologis portfolio as well as Prologis’ inner workings.
Ms. Perrin reminded the Board that Prologis had not built the existing warehouse at 300 Mitchell but intended on keeping the same building profile with minor changes. She spoke about the addition of landscaping as well as partial 8 foot fencing to screen the truck courts on either side of the proposed building. Perrin also displayed renderings of what the building’s elevation may look like.
Trustee Guethle asked Ms. Perrin if Prologis knew who would be utilizing the building. Ms. Perrin stated that there were no confirmed occupants.
There was discussion about the landscaping and what, if anything, Prologis was intending to add, specifically along the north side of the property where it bumps up against a residential area.
Trustee Lowery asked what the feedback had been from residents in the area. Director Darga stated that most of the concerns had been regarding lights and sounds from the existing warehouse, including truck idling and beeping.
Mayor Gaffino invited the residents in attendance to speak on the matter.
Maxine and Doug Pearce of 724 Thompson Ave, North Aurora addressed the Village Board first. Mrs. Pearce spoke about the light and noise emissions that have been disturbing her household, causing sleepless nights, and as a result, health issues.
Julie Jastremski of 104 Harding Ct, North Aurora spoke about similar issues with the addition of the ability to hear the employees coming and going due to the proximity of her home to the current warehouse’s lobby. Ms. Jastremski also provided the Village Board with photos taken from her bedroom window in which the light emitted from the warehouse was clearly visible.
Trustee Guethle stated that he liked the proposed conditions and pointed out that the land was zoned for industrial use.
Trustee Niedzwiedz asked for clarification on when zoning was attributed. Director Darga stated that in 1987 that property was annexed and zoned for industrial use, including the land that was now Chesterfield. In 1999, in an amendment, Chesterfield was broken off.
Niedzwiedz asked what other businesses would fit into that industrial location. Darga stated that ORI zoning could accommodate office, warehouse, factory and light industrial.
Niedzwiedz asked if the Village’s noise ordinances cover the after-hours noises emitted from the warehouse. Darga stated that none of the zoning districts have hours of operation requirements attached. He said that the noise ordinance covers all hours of the day. The trucks are not allowed to idle, but the back-up alarms are required by law. Niedzwiedz asked if any residents had called the police recently to investigation by the police. Chief DeLeo said that there had not been calls.
Niedzwiedz asked why the south entrance could not be used as the warehouse’s primary entrance. Darga explained that there was an obstruction at the south entrance preventing it from being the main entrance. He said that he had been in talks with the engineers about removing the obstruction in order to utilize the south entrance as the main entrance. Niedzwiedz stated that he would like to see efforts made to make the south entrance the main entrance.
Niedzwiedz asked why there was not currently a fence along the north side of the building and would like to see fencing installed there. He also asked about the landscaping and if there had been more trees previously along the Nicor property. Darga stated that at some point Nicor came in and cleared many of the trees.
There was further discussion regarding fencing and why it had not been enforced with the warehouse that sits at 300 Mitchell. Attorney Drendel stated that when that building had been approved, there was no requirement for a Planned Unit Development which would have generated a discussion like the one the Board was currently having. Liberty was entitled to build on that lot as long as it conformed to the current, at that time, zoning conditions that applied to an ORI lot.
Trustee Christiansen agreed with Niedzwiedz and stated that he would like to see only car traffic utilizing the north entrance.
Trustee Curtis said that while she empathizes with the residents, it is important to understand location when buying a home and that you may be buying or building next to what could potentially be an industrial area. She went on to say that the business has a right to build and conduct business there, however they should be a good neighbor and the Village should enforce the existing ordinances. She said she would also like to see enhanced landscaping because the building should be doing what they can to protect the residential neighborhood.
Trustee Lowery asked Attorney Drendel if there was any way the Village could force the first builder, Liberty, to put up sound barriers. Drendel stated that he does not know that the Village would have any authority to require them to add fence or additional buffer.
Trustee Lowery asked Chief DeLeo if there was anything that could be done to enforce the existing ordinances. DeLeo invited the residents to call the police when they are experiencing disturbances.
Trustee Lowery also would like to see the south entrance utilized over the north entrance.
Trustee Salazar stated that she believed that the Village had a responsibility to the residents and an opportunity to do things better with the construction of the new building. She said that she also would like to see the south entrance utilized as the primary entrance to the area.
Mayor Gaffino expressed empathy for the residents and said that he would like the Village to utilize whatever is in its’ power to remedy the situation. He stated that no decisions needed to be made that evening and staff could go back and work with the building to alleviate some of these issues. Businesses and residents need to coexist, businesses need to be good neighbors.
Administrator Bosco explained that the Village can work with the developer and the Village’s own engineer on solutions for the south entrance. He also encouraged residents to continue to reach out when there are issues, he said they can call the police but if they do not feel comfortable with that, they can reach out to Village staff with details of the disturbances so that they can be addressed.
3. AT&T Cell Tower Lease
Administrator Bosco explained that this agenda item was in regard to an existing cell tower agreement that the Village had with AT&T. He said that the Village had many cell tower agreements with carriers on the Village’s water towers. This agreement with AT&T was one of the first and dates back to the 1990s. Because of the length of the agreement and the way rental rates compound, the agreed upon rental rate ends up higher than market value so the Village researches and applies rate adjustments to the contracts.
Finance Director Paprocki stated that AT&T approached the Village to attempt to adjust their rent. They proposed a base rate of $3,500 monthly with an upward adjustment of 15% every five years for 35 years. AT&T was currently on a 20 year lease set to expire in 2037 with a rate of $5,745 and that goes up 3.5% every year. The Village currently had three other active leases, those leases are about $3,200 each month and they go up anywhere from 3%-5%. AT&T was also asking for a permitted use license which would allow them to move their equipment to a new tower if one was built with 270 days’ notice before the old tower was to be demolished. AT&T was also seeking to eliminate the optional termination for ten years. The Village would receive $451,500 over the first ten years. After the first ten years they would go back to the 90 day notice if they opted to terminate the contract. Assuming no cancelations, the Village would receive a little over $1.2 million with the current contract that expires in 2037. Under the terms of the new lease, assuming no cancelations, the Village would receive $2.3 million by the time the term expires in 2058.
These funds are attributed to the Village’s Water Fund.
Trustee Lowery asked what the advantage was to the Village on opting for the new contract. Paprocki stated that with the current contract AT&T could give a 90 day notice and cancel at any time. With the new lease, AT&T are obligated to stay for the first ten years of the contract.
Trustee Salazar asked if it was a possibility that AT&T may pick up and go if the new contract was not accepted. Administrator Bosco said that it was an unknown but they came to the Village with this contract and while it is unknown if they would leave any time in the near future, the new contract guarantees that they will not leave in the next ten years, typically that guarantee is only five years.
The Village Board was in agreement to move forward with the new contract.



Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Guethle and seconded by Trustee Curtis. All in favor. Motion approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jessi Watkins
Village Clerk





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