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Plan Commission Minutes

NOVEMBER 1, 2022

Commissioner Tom Lenkart called the meeting to order.


In attendance: Chairman Mike Brackett, Commissioners Aaron Anderson, Anna Tuohy, Richard Newell, Doug Botkin, Tom Lenkart, Mark Bozik and Alex Negro

Not in attendance: Commissioner Scott Branson

Staff in attendance: Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth and Planner David Hansen

Also in attendance: Village Attorney Kevin Drendel


1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated September 6, 2022
Motion for approval was made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Newell. All in favor. Motion approved.


Commissioner Tom Lenkart opened the public hearing.

1. Petition #22-05: The petitioner, Jim Arneson (d.b.a. FoxArneson, Inc.), requests the following actions on Lot 8 (151 Hansen Boulevard) and Lot 6 of Willard’s Corner in North Aurora, Illinois:
a) Special Use – Planned Unit Development Amendment with deviations to the Planned Unit Development
b) Site Plan Approval
c) Preliminary Final Plat of Subdivision

Planner David Hansen introduced Petition 22-05. He stated the petitioner is requesting a special use – planned unit development amendment with deviations to the planned unit development, site plan approval and preliminary final plat of subdivision on Lot 8 (151 Hansen Boulevard) and Lot 6 of Willard’s Corner. The petitioner is looking to expand the existing 236,000 square foot Woodman’s food store with a 67,642 square foot warehouse addition, which would be constructed on the northern portion of the building. According to the petitioner, the warehouse would not be accessible to the general public. Per the PUD, the use would be a permitted use according to the grocery store definition. Site plan approval is needed for the project since the addition is more than 25% of total square footage of an existing structure. Per the PUD, action is needed for the resubdivision of Lot 8 and Lot 6, both owned by Woodmans, since the lots can be subdivided from time to time, subject to approval from the Plan Commission and Village Board. The last action item is regarding a special use – planned unit development amendment with two deviations. The first deviation is for exterior lighting regarding the metal halide. That type of technology is outdated and would prevent the use of more energy efficient lighting sources such as LED and staff believes the reference can be removed from the PUD. The second deviation is regarding parking on the site. Woodman’s is not looking to add any additional parking spaces to the site. Per the PUD, it requires 2.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area. Since the addition is not accessible to the general public and the zoning ordinance amount shows the site is already over parked, the request is to deviate from the PUD language and allow a parking ratio of 2.275 parking spaces per 1,000 gross building area for Lot 8 only.

Community and Economic Director Mike Toth added Woodman’s is planning to put a 67,000 square foot warehouse addition on the building. It requires site plan approval for being over 25% and tonight we are having a public hearing for the deviations to the PUD in regards to the lighting and parking. Essentially, the petitioner is requesting to not have to add any additional parking to the property. Typically when square footage is added to the space it is added based on the Zoning Ordinance or what the PUD requires. In this case, the Zoning Ordinance is less restrictive than the PUD because the PUD requires 2.5 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet compared to a general warehouse building is 1 space per 5,000 square feet. At this time, the use is already over parked even with the warehouse addition. Per the Zoning Ordinance, 14 spaces would need to be added, but since it is already over parked, those parking spaces can be absorbed into the existing parking area, which could help preserve open space. The warehouse portion will also not be open to the public and would be adding 12 to 15 employees in that space.

The petitioner, Jim Arneson from FoxArneson Construction (representing Woodman’s), said their company is a design build contractor from Wisconsin and have been building facilities for Woodman’s Food Market since 1983. Arneson mentioned Woodman’s, unlike it competitors, doesn’t own any centralized distribution centers. Woodman’s has chosen to warehouse products that can be bought in bulk at each of their facilities. Part of the model involves warehousing at each store, own fleet of trucks that moves products around, and never have a truck travel empty. This helps the environment and prevents no dead hauls on any trucks. By having a large amount of product at their stores, it helped a lot during Covid pandemic when there was supply issues that plagued the industry. Woodman’s has started to add more warehousing at a few of their other stores. Woodman’s stores are quite large and average around 250,000 square feet. The addition will make this store just over 300,000 square feet, their biggest store has 320,000 square feet. Woodman’s is looking to expand 67,642 square foot addition and make it resemble the existing building façade. The idea was to have it be the same precast wall panels, but due to the constraints in the construction industry are excessive. This store Woodman’s would like to construct store out of concrete block and cover that block in Eifs to make it look and match the current pre cast panels. The colors would match the existing store as well. The roof would be sloped to the North and not include the downspout gutters/dropped parapet that the current building has since it causes a safety issue in the winter with water pooling in the dock area. The addition would use internal drains instead. New loading docks will match the flared ones that are currently on site. Landscape rest of the property in the northern area, replace dead or dying from original landscaping, stop sign post will be replaced and erected due to fading and leaning.

Paul McIheran, Civil Engineer for raSmith engineering, explained the site modifications in more detail including the resubdivision of Lot 6 and 8 special use deviations. McIheran showed the Plan Commission where the addition was on the site, the setbacks on the site plan, the dock locations, and storm water management area. A storm water retention pond will be added to the north of the addition on Lot 8 to complement the other existing storm water on site. Trees and shrubs will be added around the stormwater basin and on the west side of the store. Lot splits were shown of how Lot 6 and Lot 8 would change with the proposed resubdivision of the plat. He mentioned the lighting is updated and the parking definition in the PUD didn’t contemplate the warehouse house as the Village Zoning Ordinance does.

Commissioner Tom Lenkart closed the public hearing.


Chairman Mike Brackett joined the meeting.

1. Petition #22-05: The petitioner, Jim Arneson (d.b.a. FoxArneson, Inc.), requests the following actions on Lot 8 (151 Hansen Boulevard) and Lot 6 of Willard’s Corner in North Aurora, Illinois:
a) Special Use – Planned Unit Development Amendment with deviations to the Planned Unit Development
b) Site Plan Approval
c) Preliminary Final Plat of Subdivision

Commissioner Richard Newell asked if an increase in truck traffic is anticipated and if so by how much. Arneson mentioned there will be an increase of 10-12 trucks a day and currently have 20-24 trucks a day. Commissioner Alex Negro asked if there are doors on all sides of the building addition. Arneson said there will be emergency exit doors every 150 feet per occupancy code. The plans may have missed adding a door to one of the renderings, but there will be two doors on the west and the east elevations and 4 doors on the north side of the building. The doors will be only for emergency access from the inside and no outdoor access. Commissioner Negro asked if the refrigeration unit will be expanded in the warehouse. Arneson said the plans show that another large freezer is planned in the warehouse addition area and will be enclosed in that area.

Commissioner Mark Bozik asked about the water retention and detention area in the north and how wet it usually gets currently and if it ponds up. McIheran said it’s mostly dry, ponds up maybe a foot, will have wetland plants in bottom to help drain the stormwater within 24 hours, even with big storms. McIheran added the stormwater basin will be setback off Hansen Boulevard and the mature trees that are on site will remain there and help provide a screen. Commissioner Doug Botkin had questions about the symmetry of the front façade of the existing building with the addition. Arneson mentioned it will mostly remain in line with the existing building and decided not to add any focal elements since it would prompt signage, which Woodman’s didn’t deem necessary on the store.

Commissioner Anna Tuohy asked about traffic on the site particularly in the rear (east side) of the store where the trucks go through. Touhy mentioned people like to cut through that area and suggested to add stop signs since there will probably be blind spots back there. Tuohy added the façade is a lot of grayspace and has warehouse look feel for a pretty public area. She suggested adding landscaping and other elements if possible. Arneson mentioned trees and planting near the buildings were the idea rather than have the building standout. Since the addition area is warehouse we prefer not to call attention to it and have people think they can go in there especially since it’s near the online pickup. Arneson said online pick will stay as of now and may move to the parcel pickup canopy in the future since Woodman’s was using a independent contractor for the online orders, but it has moved in house as of now and rethinking it. Commissioner Tuohy asked about Lot 1 and if anything Woodmans is going to do with it since it’s vacant and if the new warehouse going to be used for other locations or just the North Aurora store. Arneson said Woodman’s is eager to sell all the lots they have out, but as of now there is no interest. Arneson added some of the product will go to other stores, but all the Woodman’s stores have that component. Commissioner Aaron Anderson asked if any of the stock will be dedicated to the North Aurora store. Arneson said most of it will go to North Aurora, but a store may be chosen if it is close in proximity to a particular supplier and may house that resource.

Commissioner Tom Lenkart asked how close the northwest corner was to Hansen Boulevard. Toth added it’s at least 30 feet on both sides of the building since it was hard to determine what was the side and front yard so staff decided to require a minimum of 30 feet on both sides to meet the PUD. Commissioner Lenkart asked if the material is a stucco product and if there was a concern of it falling off or causing a safety hazard. Arneson said it’s a synthetic stucco and a lot of older stucco products on residential homes weren’t installed correctly. Their industrial base uses a drainage cavity and masonry with the eifs. Commissioner Lenkart asks if it became an issue does the Village have code to have it fixed in a timely manner. Toth said Village would probably have the property maintenance code to fall on. Commissioner Lenkart asked where the drainage will come out. Arneson said the water will run underground into the new stormwater basin. Commissioner Lenkart asked if the docks will be facing Oak Street. Arneson said that is correct and that is how they are currently. Commissioner Lenkart suggested adding more evergreens and conifers to the landscape plan and asked if directional/traffic signage can be added to the parcel pickup canopy since it is a dangerous area with cars and pedestrians interfering with each other. Chairman Brackett also shared the same opinion that the parcel pickup area is dangerous and traffic mitigation measures and signage should be added to that area if possible.

Motion for Approval of Petition 22-05 with the six conditions was made by Commissioner Botkin and seconded by Commissioner Lenkart with two added conditions:

• Substitute some of the deciduous trees on the landscape plan with coniferous species
• Evaluate and implement on-site traffic control measures where necessary to ensure proper safety for pedestrians and motorists

Vote: Tuohy – Yes, Anderson – Yes, Brackett – Yes, Bozik – Yes, Lenkart – Yes, Negro – Yes, Newell – Yes, Botkin- Yes. Motion approved.



Toth mentioned the Woodman’s fuel canopy is under permitting review since it was a permitted use. The Randall Terrace Apartments are currently under building permit review. The Casey’s permit was issued and they’ve began construction. Toth added 19 S. Lincolnway is in the process of being demolished. The Sperry property was bought by the Park District earlier this year and the Dairy Barn is still going out for estimates and plans to go to the Village Board sometime in the near future. Toth also shared the Village Board is looking into a possible land swap with the North Aurora Fire Protection District in the Block One area, but nothing is official yet.

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

Respectfully Submitted,

Jessica Watkins
Village Clerk

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