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Plan Commission Minutes

JUNE 6, 2023
Chairman Mike Brackett called the meeting to order.
In attendance: Chairman Mike Brackett, Commissioners Doug Botkin, Mark Bozik, Tom Lenkart, Alex Negro, and Richard Newell
Not in attendance: Commissioners Aaron Anderson, Scott Branson, and Anna Tuohy
Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco and Planner David Hansen
Also in attendance: Village Attorney Ed Boula
1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated March 7, 2023
Motion for approval was made by Commissioner Botkin and seconded by Commissioner Lenkart. All in favor.  Motion approved.
Chairman Mike Brackett opened the public hearing.
1. Petition #23-02: The petitioner, West Aurora School District, requests a Special Use to allow an Educational Facility, Vocational School on the property located at 202 Genesis Drive in North Aurora, Illinois.
Planner David Hansen introduced Petition 23-02. Hansen stated the West Aurora School District 129 is proposing to move their existing automotive programming vocational school from Mooseheart to the subject property located at 202-208 Genesis Drive formally known as Lot 7 in the Orchard Commerce Subdivision Planned Unit Development (PUD). The property is currently improved with an auto repair shop and three separate office tenant spaces. District 129 would utilize the entire building for the vocational automotive training center. An Educational facility, Vocational School is classified as a special use in the B-2 District. Staff brought the proposed use to the May 15, 2023, Committee of the Whole meeting and the Board viewed it favorably. Hansen added that since the site is already built out, parking was one of the zoning aspects staff reviewed in greater detail. Hansen mentioned an Educational Facility, Vocational School use requires 1 off-street parking space per 10 students (based on maximum enrollment) + 2 spaces per classroom. Based off the anticipated number of students and staff on site a total of 13 parking spaces would be required. The site is currently improved with 48 parking spaces.
The petitioner Jeff Craig, Superintendent of West Aurora School District 129, gave an overview of the District’s automotive program along with the proposed site plan. Craig shared the District would utilize the entire building, which is approximately 10,000 square feet. The northern portion of the building, the former Merlin auto repair shop, includes about eight bays and six lifts. The District is looking to move their Autos 1 and Auto 2 curriculums from Mooseheart to this facility. The three remaining office spaces would be utilized for small engine labs, electronic labs, and different vehicles parts where students can learn about them without needing to have the entire car present. Craig said the Autos classes have outgrown its current space due to the program growing from 12 to 83 students over the past three years. The initial plan is to bring students to the site for classes starting August 16, 2023. Students would begin utilizing the bay space and the office spaces for smaller engines labs.
Craig added the District’s short-term plan would be to add electronics labs and other auto related labs in the office spaces. The long-term plan is still under consideration but may bring HVAC and fire science related classes to the site as well, but would be a few years down the road. Craig mentioned District 129 would take care of this facility as it does with all of its other facilities and the District would store majority, if not all, cars used for classes indoors. If there are any vehicles stored outside, they would be screened appropriately and designated to a specific area on site. Ultimately the District wants to be good neighbors and keep the site maintained and pleasant.
Chairman Brackett asked if the District anticipates the growth for the classes to continue on its current trajectory. Craig said it probably won’t be at this growth rate, but we do have a 164-student capacity for classes based off our number of instructors available, so this site will be vital for us. Craig shared the Districts welding program has also grown substantially over the past few years as well.  Craig added the proposed location is very close to car dealerships/Automall, which is appealing for the students and the dealerships since dealerships are always looking for certified techs and other workers for their industry. Chairman Brackett also asked about any exterior changes for the building or site. Craig shared signage and painting the site in the school districts colors, typically blue, are options they are considering, but would work with the Village to ensure the façade standards are met for painting and signage. Craig also added the southern portion of the lot could be fenced to some capacity in the future to block viewing of any outdoor storage of vehicles but would work with the Village on such location and permits. The District also plans to fix some gates and signage currently on site to make the building look more appealing.
Chairman Mike Brackett closed the public hearing.
1. Petition #23-02: The petitioner, West Aurora School District, requests a Special Use to allow an Educational Facility, Vocational School on the property located at 202 Genesis Drive in North Aurora, Illinois.
Commissioner Botkin mentioned the use is a fantastic use of the site and asked about the parking requirements for the use. Hansen mentioned the Zoning Ordinance requires 13 parking spaces on site and there are 48 parking spaces currently on site. Hansen also said the District has emphasized it will bus a majority of its students to the site. Commissioner Bozik and Negro had no questions. Commissioner Lenkart asked if signage would be through a permit process the Village controls and how painting of an exterior of a building is regulated. Hansen mentioned the sign permit process is regulated by the Village’s Sign Ordinance; however, there is no permit for painting and the Zoning Ordinance may not have specific standards pertaining to exterior facades. Chairman Brackett asked staff to make a note regarding exterior elevations and look into if there are any architectural review processes part of the zoning code that the Plan Commission can utilize in the future.
Chairman Brackett summarized the special use process and key findings staff proved the Plan Commission in the Plan Commission packet.
Motion for approval of a Special Use to allow an Educational Facility, Vocational School, requested by the West Aurora School District, subject to the architectural review by staff was made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Lenkart. Vote: Bozik – Yes, Botkin – Yes, Negro – Yes, Lenkart – Yes, Brackett – Yes.  Motion approved.
2. SPA #23-02 (First Resubdivision Lot 1 of First Resubdivision of Lot 16 North Aurora Towne Centre Lot 2 (PIN: 15-06-401-006)): The petitioner, River Front Ram, requests Site Plan Approval in the Towne Center Planned Unit Development B-2 General Business District.
Hansen introduced SPA #23-02, which is located directly east of 1891 Orchard Gateway Boulevard (Sherwin-Williams). The site consists of 5.414 acres and is located in the B-2 General Business District in the Towne Center Planned Unit Development (PUD). The proposed River Front Ram Dealership is 28,425 square feet. Hansen added Motor Vehicle Sales and/or  Service is classified as a special use in the B-2 General Business District; however, the Towne Center PUD allows Automobile sales and service, including oil change facilities and automobile auto repair as permitted uses.
Hansen shared in 2017, Riverfront Jeep proposed a 30,993 dealership, which went through the Plan Commission and was ultimately approved by the Village Board. However, through private agreements the use was not permitted. Upon staff review, the proposed Riverfront Ram Truck Facility/Dealership appears to be outside the private agreements geographical area that prevented Riverfront Jeep dealership from moving forward. Hansen added the Comprehensive Plan recommends Office/Industrial use for the subject property. A recommendation of the West Gateway Subarea Plan applies to the proposed development as a transition land use: high and dry areas adjacent to the wetlands should develop with low intensity or business park uses. Hansen said the proposed site plan meets Village Zoning Ordinance and PUD requirements including the elevations, setbacks, landscaping, and use type. The one condition on the report is regarding site signage, which would be required to be submitted through the Village’s sign application process and meet Sign Ordinance and any other Towne Center PUD requirements.
The petitioner, Corey Spooner with Riverfront provided an overview of the project. The building size is just over 28,000 square feet. The repair area will have 14 bays. The site will be utilized for sales and service for commercial trucks with light, medium and heavy duty. It will be a Ram standalone truck facility. The presentation consisted of a site plan, elevations, landscape plan, and rendering of the proposed facility.
Bracket asked about the signage of the Towne Center PUD and if it is more or less restrictive compared to the Village Sign Ordinance. Hansen said it depends on the type of signage, but the PUD does not allow pylon signage so entryway signage would need to be monument signs with a landscaping around the base. Overall, both signage requirements are similar and may be a few feet different in some aspects, but ultimately any sign aspects not mentioned in the PUD would fall back to the Village’s Sign Ordinance.
Commissioner Lenkart asked how close the property is to the wetlands. Anthony Falkowski, project engineer from Cemcon representing Riverfront, mentioned the wetlands have been delineated and are off the subject property. The floodplain elevations also are off our property line and does not encumber into the property at all.  Also, a master stormwater management report has been provided as part of the submittal, which shows it does not impede onto the property.
Commissioner Lenkart mentioned his concern would be pushing snow with salt over the curb and possibly ending up in the wetlands therefore polluting them. Falkowski asked if Sherwin-Williams had similar plan approved for snow removal. Commissioner Lenkart they are smaller and can plow it on the sides and front of their site while the proposed facility is a much larger facility with a much larger profile with a lot more frontage on the northern end. Falkowski mentioned the setback off the drive aisle to the property line is five feet. Commissioner Lenkart asked if an environmental report has been done. Village Administrator Steve Bosco mentioned a report of that nature would be done as part of the building permit review process. Once zoning is approved, the engineers will look into aspects like these, which include drainage and potential runoff. Bosco added this concern will be raised as part of the engineering review process and stormwater analysis will also need to follow the Kane County stormwater Ordinance, which varies based on the type and location of a development. In regard to the wetlands, staff can look into if an Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) review or report was completed for the site when it was graded and built. Bosco added a similar type of review was conducted for the 950 Ice Cream Drive warehouse development.
Commissioner Bozik asked about the access on the west end of the property through Sherwin-Williams and who maintains it. Falkowski said there is a cross access easement through that property and each private property owner would manage their sites easement/drive aisle area. Commissioner Bozik also asked if the dumpster enclosure could be moved north to the rear of the building. Falkowski said that is not a problem and it can be adjusted to be setback further into the property. Chairman Brackett mentioned the cross-access easements should be figured out privately between the property owners. Falkowski said there is a recorded cross-access easement to the property to the west on both the south and north end of the property. Hansen confirmed there is a recorded cross access easement document from around 2010 that shows cross access easement on the north and south end of the property (1891 Orchard Gateway Blvd).
Commissioner Lenkart asked about the site’s access and layout. Spooner mentioned the main access will be through the east entrance of the site since there is a traffic signal. Commissioner Lenkart asked instead of utilizing the cross-access easement, could a second curb cut be added on Orchard Gateway Boulevard. Commissioner Bozik was concerned the cross-access easement to the west would handle the bulk of the traffic coming off Orchard Rd and maintenance could be a major issue in the future. Commissioner Bozik continued and said he was concerned the cross-easement area wasn’t developed for heavy duty trucks driving over it all the time and could become a maintenance concern. Bosco said the site was originally planned for commercial and cross access easement were probably approved all the way down the road for that purpose and didn’t anticipate a car dealership. Bosco added the Village owns Orchard Gateway and would probably just need a right of way permit from the Village to establish another access point. Bosco mentioned the Village uses code enforcement to go after cross access easements and private roads concerns. Commissioner Bozik said other car dealerships on Hansen Blvd have two access points (an entrance and an egress point) onto a Village owned street and this site may want to consider a similar access plan.
Chairman Brackett stated the cross-access easement concerns and looking into a second access on western edge of property along Orchard Gateway Blvd are noted and can be added to the motion. Bosco asked if a second access point onto Orchard Gateway Blvd would be preferred while also leaving an emergency access on the northern portion of the Sherwin Williams property. Commissioner Lenkart, Commissioner Negro and Chairman Brackett all agreed it would be preferred and beneficial for the community. Commissioner Negro asked if the east access is from the stoplight over by Target. Hansen confirmed that intersection is the eastern access for the site. Commissioner Botkin asked if a second access was added would a left turn be possible into that access when heading east on Orchard Gateway Blvd, which would be just east of the left turn into Sherwin-Williams. Bosco mentioned the petitioner can certainly apply for a second access point, but it wouldn’t be guaranteed since engineering would need to review it. Bosco mentioned Orchard Gateway is planned to be reconstruction over the next few years and staff will mention it to the engineers on the project to see if a second access point with designated turn lanes are possible. Commissioner Lenkart asked if the turn radius for a car carrier truck would be viable for both access points as the current site plan shows. Falkowski said they would utilize the eastern access most likely for those types of deliveries.
Chairman Brackett summarized what areas of the plan need to be looked into, which include the dumpster location, second access point onto Orchard Gateway, wetland pollution concerns, and cross-easement concerns. Commissioner Lenkart asked if it can be noted to add more shrubs to the landscape plan along Orchard Gateway if possible. Chairman Brackett said it can be noted and may be beneficial to include trees and shrubs along the northern end of the property as well.
Commissioner Botkin asked why the Jeep dealership couldn’t move forward even though it received Village approval. Bosco shared the Owners Easement Agreement applies to all properties along the private road areas south of Orchard Gateway Blvd. Since the Jeep dealership was along that private access road it was subject to the agreement. To staff’s knowledge the proposed dealership tonight does not apply to that agreement since it doesn’t share the private road inside the development plus the Village owns Orchard Gateway Blvd. Bosco added the petitioner would need to verify, if they haven’t already, whether the private agreement applies before they can move forward. Regardless the private agreement is outside of the Village’s control.
Motion for Site Plan Approval with staff’s one (1) condition was made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Botkin with five (5) added conditions.
• Confirm an IDNR report has been conducted for the site in relation to the adjacent wetlands.
• Relocate dumpster further north near rear lot line so it is further away from Orchard Gateway Blvd.
• Review cross access easement concerns regarding maintenance and heavier truck traffic loads.
• Review the possibility of adding a second access point onto Orchard Gateway Blvd on the western end of the site.
• Review and see if additional landscaping along the property lot lines is possible.
Vote: Vote: Bozik – Yes, Botkin – Yes, Negro – Yes, Lenkart – Yes, Newell – Yes, Brackett – Yes.  Motion approved.
Commissioner Botkin asked about the status of Dairy Barn. Hansen mentioned the Oswego location appears to be closed permanently so it’s looking like their project in the Village is not moving forward. Chairman Brackett asked about status of Fortunato. Bosco said there has been some material supply issues, which have prolonged the project. Bosco added the previous Community and Economic Development Director, Mike Toth, has officially moved to the Administration Department and the new Community Development Director is starting next week. Bosco shared Casey’s is anticipating opening in June. Hansen shared Verilife has submitted build out plans and are currently under review. Commissioner Botkin asked about Parcel 6 status. Hansen shared the building permit is almost ready to be issued. Bosco shared The Seasons apartments on Orchard Rd are going up quick and the Randall Terrace apartments off of Miller Dr are still moving forward. Hansen said Shodeen recently reached out regarding the unincorporated property off Randall Rd and should be submitting a concept in the near future.
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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