VILLAGE OF NORTH AURORA
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING MINUTES
Monday, July 19, 2021
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Village Board meeting was conducted live remotely
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Gaffino called the meeting to order.
In attendance: Mayor Mark Gaffino, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mark Guethle, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Todd Niedzwiedz, Trustee Carolyn Salazar
Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Bill Hannah, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel, Public Works Director John Laskowski, Police Chief Dave Fisher.
AUDIENCE COMMENTS – None
TRUSTEE COMMENTS – None
1. Petition 21-06: Orchard Commons
Administrator Bosco introduced the item, a development proposal at the northwest corner of Oak St. and Orchard Rd, known as Orchard Commons. He asked the Board to provide feedback on the proposed project.
Director Toth welcomed Ivan Nockov with Vequity
Mr. Nockov with Vequity explained that the currently vacant land is two parcels with the intention to subdivide into four parcels with four separate buildings. Vequity offered two different site plan options, the first option allows for drive thrus in all building except the building in Lot 1. The second site plan eliminates the drive thru from the building in Lot 2, leaving Lot 3 and Lot 4 with drive thrus. There will be no access to the property from Orchard Rd., the access will be via Madison St. to the west of the buildings.
Mr. Nockov explained that this proposal was brought before the Plan Commission on July 6, 2021 where the commission did have a few concerns that the developer was able to address such as the landscaping near Madison Street causing visibility issues, the width of the two-way parking lot drive aisles and the elevations on the east side of the buildings.
Trustee Guethle asked if the developer knew what businesses would be going in to the buildings. Mr. Nockov stated that the building furthest north would house a national coffee chain and the remaining buildings’ occupants would be solidified pending project approval from the Village.
Trustee Curtis asked if all of the building would be drive thru chain restaurants, Mr. Nockov stated that the building furthest to the north would be a national coffee chain, the building directly south of that would be a national fast food. There are no businesses fully committed to the two buildings furthest south.
Trustee Curtis stated that she did not like the concept for that location, she found it to not be aesthetically appealing. She explained that this location is situated just south of the restaurant Hardware which has a nice outdoor patio, she stated that she felt this was not a good fit for that location.
Trustee Guethle, referring to the national coffee chain as a Starbucks, stated that it would be a benefit to the community.
Mr. Nockov explained that the other potential tenants were not fully committed yet, however he said that Vequity typically works with national tenants.
Trustee Salazar asked if the two buildings furthest south would also be restaurants or could potentially be something else. Mr. Nockov stated that there are currently no committed business for those two buildings however the building furthest south is intended for retail.
Trustee Curtis stated that she would like to see higher end, upscale finishes on the buildings. Mr. Nockov said that the developer could look in to that. Director Toth stated that the building renderings do appear bare but there would eventually be corporate branding and signage.
Trustee Salazar asked what kind of retail tenant could potentially occupy the two buildings to the south. Mr. Nockov stated that they could be potentially anything. He added that Vequity works with businesses from gas stations to fast food, it would be hard to say who could occupy the space. Director Toth added that the properties are in the B-2 General Business District PUD and could be granted a special use but are subject to the use that is included in the B-2.
Trustee Lowery asked if there was the potential for one of the buildings to be a gas station. Director Toth explained that originally the plans did include a gas station but the plans have been changed.
Trustee Niedzwiedz asked if there was only interest in the two buildings to the north. Mr. Nockov explained that there is a lot of interest in the additional buildings but potential tenants are awaiting Village approval of the project.
Trustee Niedzwiedz stated that the Village currently has many unoccupied retail spaces, if given the choice he would prefer dining establishments in the proposed buildings.
Mayor Gaffino agreed with Trustee Niedzwiedz and said that many residents are interested in more restaurant options. He also agreed with Trustee Curtis and would like to see more done with the building facades to tie them in with the high end restaurant Hardware.
Trustee Curtis stated that there are higher end estate homes in the surrounding area, she would like to see the buildings’ finishes higher end.
Director Toth stated that the Plan Commission approved the project but made recommendations that the developer has already addressed. The property is part of an annexation agreement and has to go through those processes. Mr. Toth stated that during that process, the Village will work with the developer on improving the buildings’ exterior finishes.
2. Petition 21-07: Oberweis Warehouse
Administrator Bosco explained that the item on the agenda is in regard to a proposed warehouse adjacent to Oberweis on Ice Cream Drive. He stated that he was looking to the Board for their direction on whether or not to move forward.
Director Toth stated that Transwestern presented before the Plan Commission on July 6, 2021 which resulted in unanimous support for the project with the eleven staff conditions as well as three additional conditions, a deceleration lane, an update to the IDNR update and additional landscape screening.
Ted Staszak and Tim Stuchly of Transwestern Development Company presented the proposed development located at the northeast corner of Randal Road and Ice Cream Drive. Mr. Staszak spoke to the Board about Transwestern and introduced the company.
Tim Stuchly introduced the proposed project, a 173,400 square foot warehouse, with trailer parking to the north of the building.
Trustee Curtis asked how far the north end of the building would be from the residential area. Director Toth estimated the distance to be 1,400 feet with a detention area and wetland area between the two properties.
Director Toth stated that the project has been recommended for approval by the Plan Commission. He also spoke about the petitioner’s request for a zero lot line for Lot 2 future development which was also recommended for approval by the Plan Commission.
Trustee Lowery asked for clarification on the zero lot line for Lot 2, to which Director Toth stated it would be the east side of the future building on Lot 2.
Trustee Lowery asked how far from Randal Road would the building be on Lot 1, Mr. Staszak answered that the building would be a little over 50 feet.
Trustee Guethle commented on the landscaping stating that he appreciated that there are a lot of trees planned.
Mayor Gaffino asked if there was fencing planned. Mr. Staszak replied that there is not. Director Toth added that any fencing would be required to be decorative.
Mayor Gaffino asked if there are any preventative measures that are taken to stop any fluid leaking from trucks along the north side of the building from seeping in to the wetlands. Director Toth stated that other than curbing, there is not.
Trustee Niedzwiedz asked if the plan would be for trucks to enter the facility from Ice Cream Drive and exit on to Randal Rd. Mr. Staszak stated the trucks would ideally enter and exit via Ice Cream Drive and head west.
The Board was in agreement to move forward with the petition.
3. Body Worn Camera Purchase
Administrator Bosco explained that the Village has guidelines for purchasing equipment and services, the purchasing of the police body cameras is unique in that it is a highly technical process. Mr. Bosco stated that Chief Fisher would explain the process the staff recommends for selecting the appropriate body camera equipment.
Chief Fisher explained since last fall the staff had been researching the purchase of body worn cameras for officers. Since then the Illinois Legislature has passed a bill that makes it mandatory for police officers, including himself, to wear body cameras to record their interaction with the public. For an agency the size of North Aurora’s it is not necessary until January 1, 2025, however, staff would like to move forward on the purchase ahead of that deadline.
Chief stated that the purchase of the body cameras have been narrowed down to three companies however he explained that due to the technical nature of the project, they would like to have Market Place assist with the purchase of the cameras. Staff believes that hiring a company like Market Place it would provide assistance in selecting the optimal company that provides the minimum requirements as well as features deemed necessary by staff. Chief Fisher explained that staff believes that utilizing a company such as Market Place will help the department to make the best and most informed decision in a recommendation to the Village for purchase of body worn cameras for officers.
Chief Fisher stated that Market Place’s service is paid for by taking a percentage of the purchase price of the cameras. He also stated that recently Aurora utilized Market Place in their body worn camera research.
Chief Fisher asked the Board if they found the use of Market Place acceptable in the research and purchase of cameras or if they would like to see the Police Department conduct their own research.
Administrator Bosco stated that the Village has protocols in place for purchasing, however the purchase of body worn cameras is different in that each company offers a unique product and service. He stated that a proposal process would narrow down the choices but if the village is unfamiliar with the technology, an ultimate decision will be difficult.
Mayor Gaffino asked if the Village has heard good feedback in regard to Market Place. Chief Fisher said that he has heard good feedback, specifically from Aurora.
Discussion was had about the concern that Market Place may suggest higher priced products in order to benefit themselves. Chief explained that the department gives Market Place specifications that they are looking for and Market Place finds the companies that provide products with those specifications.
Administrator Bosco explained that staff has already done internal research on body worn cameras and between the companies that have been narrowed down, the favorite is probably the most expensive option. He stated that the Village wants to get this purchase right, to make the best purchase for the Village’s needs.
Trustee Lowery asked if Market Place will look for the lowest priced options. Administrator Bosco explained that Market Place will look for the specifications given to them by the Village. There is a possibility that a camera company may charge more because they know they will have to pay Market Place a fee.
There was discussion about the positives of the guidance that Market Place can provide outweighs the negative of potentially ultimately paying more.
Administrator Bosco explained that he anticipated this to be a process with this being an initial step. He expects that Market Place would narrow down the options based on specifications given to them by the Village, and then further discussion will ensue.
Trustee Salazar asked how much had been budgeted for the body worn cameras. Finance Director Hannah stated that $200,000 had been budgeted.
Chief Fisher explained that if the department knew nothing of body worn cameras he may be leery of a company steering the Village toward a higher priced product, however he feels confident in his research that the help that he needs from Market Place is to compare the different offerings from companies to find the products that best serve the needs of the Village.
There was general positive consensus from the Board.
EXECUTIVE SESSION – None
Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Guethle and seconded by Trustee Niedwiedz. All in favor. Motion approved.