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Plan Commission Minutes



MARCH 2, 2021


Vice Chairperson Duncan called the meeting to order.


In attendance:  Chairman Mike Brackett, Vice Chairperson Jennifer Duncan, Commissioners Anna Tuohy, Tom Lenkart, Doug Botkin and Connie Holbrook

Not in attendance:  Commissioners Mark Bozik and Aaron Anderson

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

Also in attendance: Kevin Drendel, Village Attorney


Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated January 5, 2021

Motion for approval made by Commissioner Tuohy and seconded by Commissioner Lenkart.  All in favor.  Motion approved.


  1. Petition #21-02 (1057 & 1059 Orchard Road): The petitioner, Stephen Newman, requests a Special Use to allow for the indoor and outdoor expansion of a Microbrewery in the ­­B-2 General Business District.

 Community and Economic Development Director Mike Toth provided background information on the applicant’s original special use approval in 2019. On June 3, 2019 an ordinance was approved for a special use allowing a microbrewery, Brother Chimp Brewing, at 1059 Orchard Road in the B-2 General Business District. The applicant is requesting approval to expand into the adjacent indoor tenant space. They are also requesting the use of an outdoor beer garden, which would be located behind both tenant spaces along the southern portion of the building. Toth stated that per Chapter 4.3 of the Zoning Ordinance, any modification to an approved special use requires new special use approval. Staff presented the request to the Village Board at the Committee of the Whole meeting on February 15, 2021. Toth stated that staff recommends approval subject to three (3) conditions including, a building permit must be obtained, the outdoor seating area enclosure will be subject to review per the supplemental outdoor liquor license, and the outdoor expansion shall not extend into the adjacent drive aisle.

Stephen Newman, Brother Chimp Brewing, stated that with COVID-19, they only allow six (6) people in the tap room at a time to keep it safe. Now that the space next door is available, he would like to expand the indoor seating area. The expansion would allow for two main seating areas. This would include the already existing tap room area and the new proposed 20’ x 50’ seating area. The expansion would also include a 14’ x 15’ storage room. Newman stated that the expansion is necessary in order to practice safe social distancing. The outdoor beer garden would also provide an option for people who are not comfortable with sitting indoors. Newman stated the beer garden would be located behind the building at the southern west portion. The beer garden will consist of a concrete pad with bollards and a metal roof overhang. Toth stated that the special use request is simply for the indoor seating and outdoor seating. It is not for the expansion of the microbrewery process itself.

Vice Chairperson Duncan opened the public hearing for public comment. No comment.

Vice Chairperson Duncan closed the public hearing.


  1. Petition #21-02 (1057 & 1059 Orchard Road): The petitioner, Stephen Newman, requests a Special Use to allow for the indoor and outdoor expansion of a Microbrewery in the ­­B-2 General Business District.

Commissioner Holbrook stated that the drive aisle by Brother Chimp is tight and her concern is that cars could potentially get backed up at the credit union drive thru which could create congestion issues by the beer garden. Toth responded that is why the condition has been included that the outdoor expansion cannot encroach into the adjacent drive aisle. For the safety of the use itself, there will be a barrier curb that matches the existing building. The petitioner also stated that bollards will be installed at each corner. Toth stated that there is adequate room for the traffic flow at the credit union. Lenkart stated he had the same concern about traffic being a potential issue and that proper safety measures need to be met. Newman responded that the concrete slab will raise the elevation and the installation of bollards will provide an additional safety barrier. Holbrook stated she had no further questions.

Commissioner Lenkart asked how many parking spaces the microbrewery is required to have and will the removal of four spaces for the beer garden affect that. Toth responded that the site is over parked due to the spaces on the back and side of the building so parking is not an issue. The site plan states that 72 spaces are required and there are currently 130 existing spaces. Lenkart asked if the concrete pad will be permanent or will it just lay on top of the asphalt. Newman responded that it would be a permanent pad. He does not have any plans to expand beyond this, so moving to a larger location is not part of the plan. Lenkart stated that the Village should ensure that the bollards are installed properly for safety purposes. Newman responded that he will comply with whatever the Village requires. Lenkart recommended that the property owner be aware of the metal roof installation since it is going to be installed to the building and there is liability involved.

Commissioner Botkin asked where access to the beer garden will be located. Newman responded that there will be gates extended to the exterior wall and everyone will enter through the front of the building. Botkin asked where the restrooms are located. Newman stated there is one existing restroom in the new space and there are two existing restrooms in the current space. Botkin stated he had no further questions. Toth stated that per the liquor license requirement, there has to be direct access from the building to the space to prevent people from coming directly into the beer garden from the outside.

Commissioner Tuohy asked what the overall seating capacity will be. Newman responded that roughly 30-40 people could be seated outdoors. Tuohy asked where food deliveries will happen. Newman responded that they will be dropped off in the front. Tuohy stated she had no further questions.

Chairman Brackett stated he supported the request and had no further questions.

Vice Chairperson Duncan stated she had no further questions.

Toth recommended that a fourth condition be added stating that the petitioner will work with Village staff on the proper location and installation of the bollards.

Motion for approval of a Special Use to allow for the indoor and outdoor expansion of a Microbrewery in the ¬¬B-2 General Business District including the three staff conditions with the added condition that the petitioner work with Village staff to determine the number, size and location of bollards required adjacent to the outdoor seating area for protective purposes was made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Tuohy. Vote: Duncan – Yes, Holbrook – Yes, Lenkart – Yes, Tuohy – Yes, Brackett – Yes, Botkin – Yes.  Motion approved.

  1. Village staff would like to solicit feedback from the Plan Commission regarding residential ground floor area minimums.

Toth stated that in 2020 a builder was looking to build homes in the Mooselake Estates subdivision. The proposed homes were smaller than the existing homes. The Village Board denied the amendment to the annexation agreement and the Unit 3 plat, so the builder has not moved forward since. Village Board asked staff to look into whether or not other municipalities in the area regulate ground floor area minimums. The current zoning ordinance does not regulate minimum building sizes but it does regulate maximum parameters such as setbacks, building height, and lot coverage. Minimum building sizes have been regulated through HOA by-laws. Toth stated that ten communities were researched in the surrounding area. Research showed that four of the communities had minimum building sizes for residential zoning districts included in their zoning ordinances. In those communities, minimum building sizes are regulated as ground floor area minimums. Three of those four communities have ground floor area minimums for estate zoning districts. Examples were provided for each of those communities and what their ground floor area requirements are. Most of the research showed that the ground floor area included the livable space. Floor area could include second floors, basements, etc. North Aurora has three Estate Districts including E-R, E-1, & E-3. Of the three Estate Districts, there is primarily E-3 lots in North Aurora. There are an estimated 1,121 E-3 District platted lots and 131 vacant E-3 District platted lots. The purpose of the Estate District is to provide a transition from the more dense single-family areas of unincorporated Kane County. Toth presented the research found for the three communities that have a ground floor area minimum. He then presented the data for the floor area minimums for the surrounding residential zoning districts.

Tuohy asked if there is a current housing trend that would show if people are buying smaller or larger homes. Toth responded that the builder that wanted to build in Moose Lake Estates was proposing smaller homes that started around 1,500 SF. The current homes in Moose Lake Estates range from 3,000 – 4,000 SF. There is a trend in ranch homes due to less maintenance and having a ground floor master. Tuohy asked what the purpose is for creating the minimum requirements. Toth responded that the purpose of the discussion is to entertain the idea of requiring minimums that would meet the current aesthetics of existing single family residences. Toth stated that PUD agreements can have certain criteria but for purpose of this discussion, staff is looking at ground floor area minimums for a zoning district as a whole. One of the favorable aspects of requiring minimums is to ensure there is enough adequate space. Village Administrator Steve Bosco stated that when a new developer comes into town, there are always two concerns which includes the ground floor area minimum and the aesthetics. There are ways to handle that through by-laws or minimum standards so at least one of those objectives is met. Bosco stated that it is difficult to have zoning codes when each subdivision has its own set of by-laws. He said one thing to consider if staff decides to set a minimum, is to make sure a minimum is not set that would cause existing single family homes to become nonconforming.

Lenkart stated that in the Mirador Subdivision a builder was allowed to construct smaller homes after the economic crash in 2008. There were already larger homes existing in the subdivision and the residents were concerned that their property value would go down. Lenkart asked if the Village would be liable for potential lawsuits if a builder were to come in and buy numerous lots with the impression they could build a smaller home and then finds out that the Village has now changed the ground floor area requirement. Village Attorney Kevin Drendel responded that typically these subdivisions were done as Planned Unit Developments and there have been deviations to the annexation and zoning which then leads to a unique zoning for that particular development. Where the annexation agreement and PUD provisions are silent, it defaults back to the provisions of the zoning district. Toth responded that it would be generally applied to everywhere in the Village if it were to move forward.

Duncan asked what the benefit would be for requiring this. Bosco responded that if the Village decides to require ground floor area minimums, it would protect the Village by requiring a developer to build a single family house with a certain size requirement. Currently the way the code is written, the Village has no requirement for single family home aesthetics (i.e. elevations). Toth stated that if certain aesthetic requirements are not put into place, it could have a negative outcome down the road. When a developer comes in and wants to do something different, the code currently does not have any safety nets for certain aspects of the development. Bosco stated that in this instance, the safety net would be that if a developer were to walk away from a project, the next developer would be held to the same minimum requirements.

Lenkart stated that he understands the aesthetic value of implementing the minimums but it is also important to provide affordable housing for people who want to live in North Aurora.

Duncan stated that people purchase large lots not necessarily to build large homes but to have value in the land itself. Toth stated that the intent of the Estate District is to have larger lots. There are some subdivisions in North Aurora that have their own by-laws which have minimum requirements. Toth stated that out of the 131 vacant E-3 lots, 32 are located in Mooselake Estates and 62 are located in Autumn Ridge. Bosco asked if the lots were platted for Deer Run Subdivision. Toth responded that he was unsure it if was platted or vacated but there are vacant E-3 lots in Deer Run.

Lenkart asked if there was a way to accommodate both the zoning and subdivision requirement. Toth responded that is why many communities only consider the net area by taking out garages, basements, etc. when requiring a minimum. Drendel responded that the Village could set minimums and maximums that are based on reference to the average ground floor area of the existing homes in the development or implement a “no less than a certain percentage” in order to make it relevant and avoid a potential problem. Toth responded that can be a challenge when you are dealing with multiple subdivisions. At this point, the topic is being discussed as an overall picture for feedback purposes and the specifics will be determined down the road.

Duncan stated that there just does not seem to be any type of standardization when it comes to determining what livable space is. She asked how the square footage requirement could affect property taxes. Toth responded that the township assessors will go through all the permits issued to determine assessed property value.

Tuohy stated she does not see a compelling reason to start requiring minimum ground floor areas. Botkin stated he agreed. If a minimum is going to be required, then it should be rather small. He stated he is in favor of no minimum or a low minimum. Toth stated that many of the communities have a small minimum set. Tuohy stated that Autumn Ridge has a lot of vacant land and she would hate to see a developer prohibited from building there due to minimum requirements.

Toth stated he appreciated the feedback regarding the topic and would present it to the Village Board.



Toth stated that Village Board has been working on additional conditions for the Opus development, in particular the landscaping for the northern screening. The development may be presented back to the Village Board and it should be finalized soon. He stated that the developer has asked that the condition relating to on-site management and monitoring of noise be removed because it conflicts with a potential lease. Bosco stated that the Board has requested the developer eliminate the deciduous trees to the north and plant evergreens that would provide proper screening year round. It would also reduce light emission and noise. Toth stated that the Village Board is also requesting a sidewalk be installed along Overland Drive and would like to limit the hours of operation. Lenkart asked if there was a condition put into place regarding the curb cuts for connection to the other property. Toth responded that staff had a meeting with both property owners and it would be handled privately. The Village Board felt it was not a necessary condition since it involves private roads.

Lenkart asked how extensive the damage was for Run-A-Way. Toth responded that there was substantial damage and they are currently working with their insurance company. A building permit has not been applied for at this time.

Holbrook asked if the mixed use building located at 1101 Ritter Street was always intended to be  apartments. Toth responded yes. A PUD amendment had to be completed since it originally called for a stand-alone restaurant. Drendel stated that it is a mixed-use building and is not just apartments. Holbrook asked if anyone has shown interest in the ground floor commercial use. Toth responded that the developer had mentioned they had someone interested. Holbrook stated that the sidewalks along Ritter Street at the development site are full of mud and can never be used. Toth stated he would notify the Village’s consulting engineers to look into the matter.

Lenkart asked if a new tenant was moving into Eddie’s Pizza. Bosco responded that a new tenant was interested in the space and went through the liquor license approval process. Staff has not heard anything from them since. Holbrook asked about Blue Agave. Lenkart responded that they are open again. Lenkart asked if a decision has been made about North Aurora Days. Bosco responded at this time a decision has not been made. He stated that staff is looking into summer fireworks and how to safely go about having them.


Motion to adjourn made by Commissioner Tuohy and seconded by Commissioner Brackett.  All in favor.  Motion approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jessi Watkins

Village Clerk

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