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Plan Commission Minutes

May 3, 2022

Commissioner Tom Lenkart called the meeting to order.


In attendance: Commissioners Aaron Anderson, Anna Tuohy, Scott Branson, Doug Botkin, Tom Lenkart and Mark Bozik.

Not in Attendance: Chairman Mike Brackett, Commissioners Alex Negro and Richard Newell

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

Also in attendance: Kevin Drendel, Village Attorney


1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated March 1, 2022
Motion for approval made by Commissioner Botkin and seconded by Commissioner Tuohy. All in favor. Motion approved.


1. Petition #22-03: The petitioner, Phelan-JK/JB, Midwest, LLC, requests the following actions for the vacant properties generally located between Smoke Tree Plaza and Sullivan Road, east of Evergreen Drive in North Aurora, Illinois:
a) Map Amendment to establish the O-R-I Office, Research and Light Industrial Zoning District
b) Special Use – Planned Unit Development with deviations to the Zoning Ordinance
c) Preliminary Final Plat of Subdivision
d) Site Plan Approval

Commissioner Tom Lenkart called the public hearing to order.

Mike Toth introduced Petition #22-03 for the property located between Smoke Tree Plaza and Sullivan Road, east of Evergreen Drive. Toth mentioned tonight is the Plan Commission public hearing where the Plan Commission listens to the presented information, provides feedback and gives a recommendation to the Village Board. The petition is provided to the Village Board with any conditions from the Plan Commission. The Village Board would then discuss the petition, which could be multiple meetings, before a final consideration is voted on. The developer will give a presentation and provide background on the project. Then the Village will give their presentation of the staff report and explain the developer’s request in more detail.

The petitioner, Jess Knigge (Midwest Partner for Phelan Development), presented the Park 88 Logistics Center project. Knigge shared the project location is south of Interstate 88 and west of Route 31. More specifically, the project is located with Sullivan Road to the south, Smoke Tree Plaza to the north, Evergreen Drive to the west and Cinemark Tinseltown to the east. Knigge said they are asking for an O-R-I map amendment, a special use planned unit development, site plan approval and preliminary final plat of subdivision. Knigge shared the project involves four different property sellers, which properties will help provide adequate access for Fairview Drive to Sullivan Road to the south and Smoke Tree Plaza to the north. The project consists of two office industrial warehouse facilities, which together total approximately 430,000 square feet. Knigge said the project is planned to be multi-tenant, but could be a single tenant. Building A has two unique customer storefronts with a planned third punch-out in the center if necessary. Building B is setup for four customer storefronts.

The site plan showed loading, truck traffic and tractor trailer storage all concentrated to the center of the site. Knigge said the south of the property abuts three residential lots. The closest building is 122 feet from residential property lines. Phelan plans on creating natural screening and mitigating sound from the neighboring residential uses with landscape buffers and 6 foot opaque fencing. There is also a stream along the north of the residential properties that provides a natural buffer. Stormwater management is located in the center of the site between the two rows of trailer parking with additional stormwater planned to the north near the north access drive. Building A’s proposed elevation study was shown and included the materials, colors, and tints the building would use, which would cast a modern warehouse look. Knigge said it will utilize durable materials and the exterior of the building is easy to maintain as long the exterior is painted occasionally. Knigge mentioned they plan on using a local company out of Aurora for part of the project. Building B’s elevation study is very similar to Building A’s, but would have corner entries and two unique customer entries in the center. This would allow for future division of the building. Knigge said both buildings will be offered for lease.

Knigge mentioned a few projects, like the one presented tonight, have gone through this process before, but have had trouble with site access. This project would include picking up the 74 foot parcel adjacent to Sullivan Road, west of the dental office, to enhance site access and truck turning movements. Phelan is also planning to provide off-site roadway improvements to Sullivan Road to create an east bound turn lane into the site, which would help mitigate queuing coming out of the roundabout and help maintain the flow of traffic eastbound towards Route 31. Knigge mentioned they have spoken with the dental office and they are looking into allowing them to use the left turn lane into their site as well. This traffic mitigation measure is being looked into by the City of Aurora since they have jurisdiction over the road. Knigge mentioned the Village’s current IGA with the City of Aurora regarding road jurisdictions mentions to mitigate the number of curb cuts on Sullivan Rd. Phelan is looking to help support that in the future and would provide an access easement on the private road to the dental office to the east as well as allow for an access easement for IBEW to their site to the west.

Mike Toth explained the entitlement process for the project which starts with a Plan Commission public hearing, then would go to the Committee of the Whole (COW) in which the entire Village Board discusses the petition. At the COW, the Village Board can formulate additional recommendations. Once those are determined an ordinance is drafted for final consideration and voted on. Once a project is approved, the building permit and engineering review process begins, which involves Village staff and the Village’s outside consultants. Toth mentioned there are four items for consideration tonight, which include a map amendment for the rezoning of the parcels to the Office Research and Industrial (O-R-I) zoning district, a special use for a planned unit development with deviations to the Zoning Ordinance, preliminary final plat of subdivision, and site plan approval.

Toth mentioned a map amendment is typically referred to as “rezoning.” Toth showed a map of the current zoning of the parcels, which includes the zoning districts E-R – Estate Rural District, B-2 – General Business District and O-R – Office Research District. Phelan is proposing a change in zoning to O-R-I – Office Research Industrial District while maintaining the lot adjacent to Smoke Tree Plaza as B-2 commercial to ensure there is no industrial located or zoned directly on Smoke Tree Plaza except for the access drive. Toth explained the history of the property, which at one point was a nursery, but it has been vacant for quite some time. In 2013, the Zoning Ordinance had this area zoned as A – Agricultural District, but the A district was phased out of Zoning Ordinance and given the restrictive E-R district designation even though this area wasn’t always zoned residential. Toth shared when looking to rezone a property, the Village will look at the Comprehensive Plan for guidance. In this case, the Comprehensive Plan designates the property as Office/Industrial. The Comprehensive Plan mentions this area in the Commercial/Industrial Areas Plan as well as the Illinois Route 31 South subarea plan, which calls for it to be mixed use industrial. Currently, Dart Container is zoned industrial and is located northwest of the site and IBEW is zoned O-R-I and is located southwest of the site.

Toth mentioned the petitioner is also pursuing a Special Use for a Planned Unit Development (PUD). The special use is required because it is a nonresidential property that exceeds two acres in size and a PUD triggers a special use in any zoning district. The use Phelan is pursing is a permitted use in the O-R-I zoning district. Toth explained what a deviation is, how it relates to the Zoning Ordinance, and one deviation was found upon staff review. The one deviation was along Sullivan Road at the access point. The O-R-I District calls for the width of a property to be 150 feet while this area is only 114 feet wide. Toth said it is only an access point and will not accommodate any building area and that the same deviation was mentioned during the OPUS Valley Green Golf Course Development. Toth shared special uses are sometimes referred to conditional uses. There are 17 conditions mentioned in the staff report to help mitigate any impacts to surrounding area.

Toth shared another motion for approval is for the preliminary final plat of subdivision. It would establish two lots. Lot 1 would be 29 acres and is the majority of the development. Lot 2 is the piece carved out to maintain the B-2 District along Smoke Tree Plaza, which is 1.2 acres in area. There is an access easement as part of Lot 2, which allows for shared access into the B-2 site and will prevent another curb cut onto Smoke Tree Plaza should the parcel develop. Toth mentioned the total acreage of Lot 1 includes the vacation of Fairview Dr right of way. Currently Fairview Drive is a Village street, but since it would only benefit this development, Phelan is asking for it to become a private access drive and no longer be maintained by the Village.

Toth mentioned the final request is for site plan approval. Toth shared any development that is more than a two family dwelling requires site plan approval and it also aligns with a special use since there is a site plan submitted. The site plan shown tonight has many elements from previous developers who have been interested in the area, but with the addition of added parcels at the access points. The plan would keep operation to the center of the site and it meets the Comprehensive Plan designation. The hotel area along Smoke Tree Plaza was a concern, but one of the land sellers is the hotel group and are willing to sell the property, which suggests they are okay with the project and use. Toth opened up the floor to any questions.

Tom Mihelic (building and business owner at 421 Sullivan Road), shared he bought his building/property last year on Sullivan RoAd and remodeled the building to move a business in there. Mihelic shared how Sullivan Rd is a two lane road with no curbs and traffic in the evening is a challenge and hard to turn eastbound onto Sullivan so his workers go down to the roundabout and circle around it to get back to Route 31. Mihelic said he was fine with the use for the site, but would like to make sure that some agreement between City of Aurora, Village of North Aurora and the developer is in place to ensure the traffic is mitigated and/or the road will get improved to meet the demands. Toth mentioned as the talks with the City of Aurora continue, the Village can see if City of Aurora has a capital improvement plan in place for Sullivan Rd and to ensure the upgrades that are agreed on for this development are implemented in a timely manner. Toth said limiting the amount of curb cuts has been the main discussion so far, but staff can bring up more items such as traffic movement, signage, etc. the next time the Village staff meets with Aurora.

Commissioner Tom Lenkart closed the public hearing.


1. Petition #22-03: The petitioner, Phelan-JK/JB, Midwest, LLC, requests the following actions for the vacant properties generally located between Smoke Tree Plaza and Sullivan Road, east of Evergreen Drive in North Aurora, Illinois:
a) Map Amendment to establish the O-R-I Office, Research and Light Industrial Zoning District
b) Special Use – Planned Unit Development with deviations to the Zoning Ordinance
c) Preliminary Final Plat of Subdivision
d) Site Plan Approval

Commissioner Doug Botkin shared he liked the layout of the warehouse buildings with the operations located in the center to mitigate surrounding property owner impact.

Commissioner Mark Bozik asked if the City of Aurora has approved the concept for Sullivan Rd and if there are any considerations of a right hand turn lane going westbound on Sullivan Rd into the property. Toth mentioned a traffic study has been done and helped determine the geometrics and turn lanes for the project. Michael Werthmann (KLOA Principal Engineer) shared they are working with the City of Aurora and submitted updated plans a week ago. Werthmann mentioned a right turn lane is not warranted due to the traffic volume and there are other industrial sites on Sullivan Road that do not have dedicated right turn lanes into their sites and that there is not enough right of way to put in the right turn lane. Werthmann said the unique feature for this site is the proximity to the roundabout, which slows traffic down especially heading eastbound since vehicles are just starting to accelerate when coming out of the roundabout. Werthmann said the speed limit is 30 mph on Sullivan Rd and the road is a designated truck route.

Commissioner Bozik had a concern regarding how much daily truck traffic the site would generate and if it would back up traffic into the roundabout. Werthmann said the left turn lane would help alleviate truck traffic and that most warehouse developments don’t generate a lot of truck traffic during peak hours. Commissioner Bozik asked based on the traffic study how much traffic will use the south access compared to the north access. Werthmann said the south side access will be for the larger trucks since the turn radius is more generous as compared to the north access entrance. Commissioner Bozik asked if signage should be added to direct truck drivers not familiar with the area to use a particular route and asked if Smoke Tree Plaza was built to hold the truck weight of semis. Toth said Smoke Tree Plaza was reconstructed around 2013 and was built to withstand heavier truck weight.

Commissioner Bozik asked what the overall height of the buildings were. Toth said Building A is 45 feet and Building B is 43 feet and that 50 feet is the maximum height allowed in the O-R-I District. Knigge said these height elevations are worst case scenario and Phelan hopes to shave off a few feet with the steel design. Commissioner Bozik asked why guardhouses were mentioned in the staff report and if there are any security issues. Toth said that provision is mentioned to allow traffic to flow freely into the site, which mitigates backups and truckers loitering around town. Knigge said since it’s a multi-building and multi-tenant site they don’t see any issues and any security would be done on site/closer to the buildings so there is no negative queuing. Commissioner Bozik asked about how the water service to the site will be accessed. Brian Johnson (Pinnacle Engineering Group) said water is available on Sullivan Road and Smoke Tree Plaza and the intention is to connect to both and loop both buildings to provide fire suppression to the site, which would allow interconnectivity and improve the water flow throughout the site. Commissioner Bozik asked if the water along Sullivan Road was the Village’s or City of Aurora’s. Steve Bosco shared it appears the Village has watermain north of Sullivan Rd. Village Attorney Kevin Drendel said there are reciprocal water agreements with the City of Aurora along the Village’s borders.

Commissioner Scott Branson did not have any questions. He agreed that it was a good plan and a better approach than the proposed projects in the past for this area and was pleased the developers took into consideration the dental office and other adjacent property owners concerns.

Commissioner Aaron Andersen asked about the traffic study, referenced how the staff report mentioned the Village Board preferring truck traffic off Smoke Tree Plaza instead off Sullivan Road for past proposals and the current status of working with the City of Aurora regarding the roundabout. Knigge mentioned this project would include the parcel to the west of the dental site and would make the access go from 40 feet to 114 feet (74 feet of added access) compared to the previous developers only utilizing the 40 foot access road that currently exists. The KLOA traffic report mentioned the avoidance of queuing in the roundabout was a focal point and that is why the left turn lane into the site is being proposed. Knigge said they are still working with the City of Aurora on their approval process for Sullivan Road and will continue to work with North Aurora staff throughout the process. Knigge also shared trucks wanting to go westbound can turn left onto Smoke Tree Plaza, go over to Evergreen Drive and turn right onto Sullivan Road to avoid the roundabout. Werthmann said a good amount of truck traffic utilizes Evergreen Drive daily already. Werthmann mentioned during peak hours, about 5-8 trucks per hour is the estimate for the site, but during the day the site may have slightly higher truck traffic since truckers try to avoid rush hour traffic. Werthmann said the daily traffic amount, provided by the State, shows 13,400 west of Route 31 and 11,700 vehicles east of Route 31, but a lot of the traffic in the area is driven by the hospital. Commissioner Andersen said his main concern is traffic flow on Sullivan Road, but the site plan is the best concept we have seen for this location.

Commissioner Anna Tuohy had a question regarding the stacking of trucks turning left into the site when headed eastbound. Toth said the distance appears to be about 220 feet from the roundabout. Werthmann said about 150 feet worth of stacking or two big semi-trucks would probably fit into the left turn lane, but a majority of the truck traffic would come from Route 31 westbound from the Interstate. Commissioner Tuohy asked about the property owners and if they had any concerns. Knigge said Fairview Dental is selling them the parcel to north of their current dental building, another property owner is selling the land west of Fairview Dental for the south access point and the Comfort Inn and Suites owners are selling them the property west of that site for the north access point. Toth said only one resident had called, which was located to the east and not adjacent to the property and was more curious about Sullivan Road and future maintenance instead of the use. Commissioner Tuohy mentioned she liked how the use aligned with the Comprehensive Plan.

Commissioner Tom Lenkart had a question about the height of the building since other places in the Village had some issues in the past with the height of their buildings. Toth said the height would be probably similar to the warehouses located on Orchard Gateway. Commissioner Lenkart asked if there was a landscape plan and would prefer the plan maximize the greenery on the property since it looks like there aren’t a lot of trees on the lot lines. Knigge mentioned they have land banked 40 stalls on each of the buildings for possible future use, but it would be turf until the site warranted more parking. Toth shared adding trees to both site entrances to give a boulevard type feel was a suggestion staff made to the developer and it is incorporated into the landscape plan. Commissioner Bozik asked if stormwater was calculated with the land banked spaces as improved. Knigge said yes the future impervious were included in the stormwater calculations.

Commissioner Branson asked where the employees will enter the site. Knigge said they could enter either side of the property and have multiple exit points to head eastbound or westbound from the site. Commissioner Tom Lenkart asked to look into signage for the site to ensure the flow of traffic is not disrupted due to the truck traffic. Commissioner Lenkart also brought up concerns regarding idling, guardhouses, and what can be put in place after the fact to ensure any uses that come in don’t congest the surrounding areas. Toth said local enforcement, private parking agreements, and working with on site management would probably be the best measures to combat idling, noise and any other concerns. Commissioner Bozik asked about the few residential properties along Sullivan Road and if the Comprehensive Plan calls for those to convert to at home offices. Toth said that is correct and some of the single family homes/parcels have already converted into office or commercial uses and that the site plan has a landscape buffer and a six foot solid opaque fence along the remaining residential properties. Commissioner Bozik asked if Aurora can deny access to the site since they have jurisdiction over the road. Knigge said they have been working with the City of Aurora early on and the geometrics shown in the plans come from those discussions and would need to satisfy both jurisdictions and their engineers.

Motion for approval of a map amendment to establish the O-R-I Office, Research and Light Industrial Zoning District was made by Commissioner Botkin and seconded by Commissioner Bozik. Vote: Botkin – Yes, Bozik – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Tuohy – Yes, Branson – Yes, Lenkart – Yes. Motion approved.

Motion for approval of a Special Use for a Planned Unit Development Amendment with a deviation to the North Aurora Zoning Ordinance with staff’s seventeen (17) conditions was made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Botkin. Vote: Bozik – Yes, Botkin – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Tuohy – Yes, Branson – Yes, Lenkart – Yes. Motion approved.

Motion for approval of the Preliminary Final Plat of Subdivision was made by Commissioner Tuohy and seconded by Commissioner Anderson. Vote: Tuohy – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Botkin – Yes, Branson – Yes, Bozik – Yes, Lenkart – Yes. Motion approved. Motion approved.

Motion for Site Plan Approval was made by Commissioner Botkin and seconded by Commissioner Tuohy. Vote: Botkin – Yes, Tuohy – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Branson – Yes, Bozik – Yes, Lenkart – Yes. Motion approved.

Motion for approval for all the conditions as noted in the staff report was made by Commissioner Tuohy and seconded by Commissioner Andersen. Vote: Botkin – Yes, Tuohy – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Branson – Yes, Bozik – Yes, Lenkart – Yes. Motion approved.


Toth shared the apartment complex discussed in March is still going through the review process since the annexation agreement and the PUD is being amended and involves various property owners. The project has gone through two COW meetings, which included a public hearing for the annexation agreement and now is expected to go to the Village Board for final consideration on May 16th. The Village Board was amicable to the Plan Commission’s recommendations and were satisfied with the site plan. Commissioner Lenkart asked when they plan on breaking ground. Toth said they have been working on some engineering and stormwater, but would probably break ground in late summer. Commissioner Botkin asked about the project status of Casey’s. Toth said Casey’s is still in the building permit and engineering review process since their project share drive aisle obligations with the Parcel 6 project to the south. Both projects are working through the process and are still moving forward.

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

Respectfully Submitted,

Jessica Watkins
Village Clerk

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