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Plan Commission Minutes

Chairman Mike Brackett called the meeting to order at 7:05pm.
In attendance: Commissioners Anna Tuohy, Mark Bozik, Scott Branson, and Tom Lenkart.
Not in attendance: Commissioners Aaron Anderson, Alex Negro, Doug Botkin, and Richard Newell.
Staff in attendance: Community Development Director Nathan Darga and Planner David Hansen
1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated August 1, 2023
Motion for approval was made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Tuohy. All in favor.  Motion approved.
Motion to open the public hearing was made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Tuohy. All in favor. Motion approved.
1. Petition #23-04: The petitioner, Tiffany Nesbitt, requests a Special Use to allow a Banquet Hall on the property located at 1167 Oak Street in North Aurora, Illinois.
Planner David Hansen introduced Petition 23-04. Hansen stated 1167 Oak Street is Lot 5 in the Randall Common Subdivision, which is a planned unit development. The subject property is located in the B-2 General Business District. A Banquet Hall use is classified as a special use in the B-2 District. Hansen shared the subject property is improved with a multi-use commercial strip center that includes a beauty salon, fitness center, insurance office, restaurant and tattoo parlor. The name of the proposed business would be Sage Event Studio and would utilize the westernmost of the strip center, which is approximately 1,800 square feet.
Hansen added the indoor space is currently vacant and unimproved and would require a build out permit. The proposed floor plan, as shown in the PowerPoint on the screen, shows an open floor space, storage closet, two restrooms, and a prep/warming kitchen. There will not be a commercial kitchen. Events would be catered and may use food trucks as an alternative food option. Hansen shared that the banquet hall use would host small events up to 100 people. The hour of operation would be Sunday through Thursday 7:00am through 11:00pm and Friday and Saturday 7:00am through 12:00am. Parking for the banquet hall would require approximately thirty (30) parking spaces. The property currently provides one hundred and fifty-five (155) parking spaces for the commercial strip center. Staff finds the information presented and submitted meets the Standards for Special Uses and would recommend approval of Petition 23-04. Hansen mentioned the petitioner, Tiffany Nesbitt, is here tonight to answer any questions.
The petitioner, Tiffany Nesbitt, introduced herself and her husband Kendall. Nesbitt mentioned her family has about 20 years of experience in the entertainment business and Kendall is a professional musician and band leader for one of the top entertainment companies in the Chicagoland and Midwest area. Nesbitt shared she has been in the hospitality business for about 20 years and has worked for Disney and Royal Caribbean. Nesbitt said her family has been doing events on the go and are looking for a physical location to work out of and is a big fan of the area.
Chairman Mike Brackett asked about the number of parking spots for the site and if the commercial center could handle this type of use. Community Development Director Nathan Darga said the other current uses require very few parking spaces and the parking lot should have plenty of spaces available especially on westernmost portion of the site where the business would be going. Commissioner Anna Tuohy asked about parking spaces availability and if the proposed site is vacant. Darga confirmed parking spaces should be adequate and the space is currently vacant.
Commissioner Tom Lenkart asked if alcohol will be permitted. Nesbitt said they are not pursuing an alcohol license at this time and the plan is to do celebrations, which include baby showers, children birthday parties, etc. However, if the demand is there in future we may pursue a liquor license at that time, but do not plan to serve alcohol at this point in time. Commissioner Lenkart asked what happens if they bring their own (BYO) alcohol. Darga said the Village does not have a BYO liquor license at this time, but the Village does have liquor licenses for special events and restaurants. Darga added if they were to pursue a liquor license in the future, they would need to talk to the liquor commissioner, which is the mayor, and then we may need to invent a new liquor license category for BYO or banquet hall use at that time.
Commissioner Lenkart said his concern is if someone else brings alcohol to the site, would the owner be liable if something happened. Darga said this would be like any other regular enforcement under the law. If there was an alcohol or some other complaint, the Village would follow up on the complaint. Nesbitt mentioned this is something they have discussed, and this topic is on our radar since we understand when people celebrate, they tend to like to drink.
Commissioner Tuohy asked if they could hire a bartender to come in and serve. Darga said that would not be allowed since a liquor license would still be required. Commissioner Lenkart asked about the kitchen space and if there are rules for food trucks. Nesbitt said the space will be used as a warming kitchen. Each caterer would be required to be a licensed caterer and no cooking would be allowed on the premises since that would require commercial hoods and open flames. The sink and fridge would be there to store food and wash their hands for sanitation purposes. Darga added there are food truck standards the Village have adopted, and any business would be required to follow that. Commissioner Lenkart asked if there is an area for coats. Nesbitt said that’s a valid point and rolling carts were the idea, but we will think about if a designated area or coat closet would be better as we are building out the space.
Commissioner Scott Branson had no questions, but added the concept looks great and wished them all the best. Commissioner Mark Bozik had no questions, but only concern would be food trucks taking up parking spaces, but even if they did it looks like the site has ample parking to handle it. Darga added the site plan shows parking on the western side of the building and would take up a few parking spaces over there and would be facing westward towards the pond. Commissioner Lenkart asked about the number of doors on site. Commissioner Bozik said it looks like there are two doors, one on the front end and one on the back end of building, with direct access. Commissioner Bozik asked what the occupancy capacity would be. Nesbitt said they can fit about 80 people banquet style and 173 if it were standing theater style. Commissioner Bozik asked what the time frame was to open. Nesbitt said it looks about five months, but the hope is to have the site open beginning of 2024 if possible.
Motion to close the public hearing was made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Bozik. All in favor. Motion approved.
1. Petition #23-04: The petitioner, Tiffany Nesbitt, requests a Special Use to allow a Banquet Hall on the property located at 1167 Oak Street in North Aurora, Illinois.
Motion for approval of a Special Use for a Banquet Hall at 1167 Oak Street was made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Tuohy. Vote: Bozik – Yes, Branson – Yes, Lenkart – Yes, Tuohy – Yes, Brackett – Yes.  Motion approved.
Community Development Director Nathan Darga mentioned the permit for the Riverfront Ram dealership is getting close to being issued. Darga added the warehouse permits for OPUS Building C and Park 88 by Tinseltown have been issued and are both projects are under construction. Darga shared a new restaurant called Crave is looking to locate in the same strip center as Brother Chimp. The concept would include a pour wall, restaurant seating, and axe throwing. Darga also shared another group has reached out to us regarding a Billiard Hall concept, which is targeting space in Clocktower Plaza. Darga said entertainment uses have been a lot of the inquires lately while brand-new construction has been mostly silent.
Darga also shared Lot 2 in Orchard Acres, the lot between Taco Bell and Verilife, has submitted a permit, but it has not been issued. Verilife also hasn’t picked up their permit for build out yet, which may be due to the KDOT impact fee being much higher than anticipated. Fortunato is still waiting on steel and last update was few weeks ago and steel is supposedly being fabricated and hopefully arrive soon. Randall Terrace Apartments have the infrastructure in but are still waiting to go vertical. Darga shared financing is currently tough with commercial interest rate being over 9% and residential rates over 7%. However residential single-family permits have remained strong with Moose Lake and other subdivision being built out. Darga added October’s Plan Commission agenda currently has no cases, but we may bring some text amendments forward if we can complete them in time.
Motion to adjourn made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Tuohy.  All in favor.  Motion approved.
Respectfully Submitted,
David Hansen
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