City of Highland Park Plan And Design Commission met February 20.
City of Highland Park Plan And Design Commission met February 20.
Here is the minutes provided by the Commission:
I. Call To Order
At 7:30 pm Chair Hecht called the meeting to order and asked Director Fontane to call the roll.
II. Roll Call
Members Present: Glazer, Hecht, Kutscheid, Leaf, Pearlstein, Reinstein
Members Absent: Waxman
Director Fontane took the roll and declared a quorum present.
Staff Present: Cross, Fontane, Jackson, Kosmatka
Student Rep.: None
Council Liaison: Blumberg, Schuster
III. Approval Of Minutes
February 6, 2018
Chair Hecht entertained a motion to approve the minutes of the February 6, 2018 meeting. Commissioner Kutscheid so motioned, seconded by Commissioner Pearlstein. Commissioner Leaf stated there were changes to be incorporated into the minutes. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
IV. Scheduled Business
A. Design Review - Crossroads Shopping Center - 295 Skokie Valley Rd.- Revised Sign Structure.
Planner Jackson made a presentation for the above item including application summary, previous consideration, existing conditions, distance in relation to new signs, design evolution, architectural element comparison, design and materials, sign dimensions, lighting, renderings, south, north and east views, night renderings, community input and recommendation.
Commissioner Leaf asked about the signage element and size and if this was by right.
Planner Jackson stated they are approved under a sign package when they did the PUD in 2008. It allows for flexibility from the required code.
Commissioner Glazer asked if the height figures were from grade.
Planner Jackson stated height is measured from grade.
Commissioner Glazer stated there were some comments in the emails that this will actually be taller.
Planner Jackson stated there was some discussion that some of the residents were at a lower grade, but they measure height from grade.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if they were considering design review elements at this meeting.
Planner Jackson stated it was both.
Mr. Matt Monahan, 1626 E. Jefferson, Rockville, MD, Federal Realty, stated they had been long term holders of Crossroads for 25 years, are looking to reinvest and operate at the highest quality, want to continue to improve center, have 15% vacancy in center, could have 10% more vacancy in another year, architectural element will attract best in class tenants in the marketplace, help anchor center, give presence to Rt. 41, trying to invest and enhance the center, new building materials, new design, removed signage on east side, signage on north and south sides does not face residential, all signage will have reverse lit halo letters, low dim light and more of a glow, will shut off at 11:00 PM, design is more sophisticated, more simple and sleek, want to put best foot forward that addresses community’s comments from last time.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked about the tone behind Ulta.
Mr. Monahan stated there would be wood slats and behind a wood panel.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked if the wood panel would be continuous or in the shape as depicted in the presentation.
Mr. Monahan stated it would be the way it is depicted.
Commissioner Reinstein asked why the width of the sign has changed.
Mr. Monahan stated the width needed to change to give it presence.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the dimensions.
Mr. Monahan stated it is 28’ x 31’, the width of actual structure.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the old sign.
Mr. Monahan stated it was 26’ on all sides to 28’ on the east and then up to 31’ on north and south sides.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked about the height of the parking lot lights.
Planner Cross stated they are not 40’, maybe 22’ - 25’ tall.
Chair Hecht asked if they were uniform on all sides the parking lot.
Planner Cross stated they were uniform poles.
Chair Hecht asked who else would be on the sign.
Mr. Monahan stated they only have one tenant but they will use the other two as a leasing incentive.
Chair Hecht asked if they could go to existing tenants.
Mr. Monahan stated they have not made a decision.
The following residents expressed their views:
Mr. Mike Rudman, 350 Larkspur, Highland Park, IL Mr. Mike Weiss, 252 Aspen, Highland Park, IL Mr. Bennett Goldberg, 386 Larkspur, Highland Park, IL Ms. Laurie Weiss, 252 Aspen, Highland Park, IL Mr. Dan Rosen, 280 Aspen, Highland Park, IL
Not fitting for area, trying to become power center, center is severely under parked, sign is too big, pictures doctored to lessen impact of lighting, by right they are not allowed to do this, what is community receiving, sign tower is higher than LA Fitness, consider road sign by Central, condition of roads, will not enhance value of center, grade differential is 10’ lower than center, need to look at from different angle, major reconstruction on Clavey Rd. in late 2018, combining two synagogues with more traffic, want update on LA Fitness sign on timer, Highland Park is not a tollway town, Binny’s would be on sign, tower is a disguise for a billboard, no other businesses have a 40’ sign, neighborhood is concerned over height of sign, change does not address height, land is 10’ higher than Aspen, sign will have perception of being 50’, unfair to local businesses, residential area too close, Commission’s job is to look out for community, wants sign for greater visibility, sign package allows for consistent sign design, current towers are 35’ on the north and 32’ on the south, how do towers classify as consistent, lighting will go off at 11:00 PM - are stores open that late, look out back yard and see the building, not attractive, how tall is road sign under bridge connecting Clavey Rd. and Skokie Rd., LA Fitness faces east and south and visibility is different for LA Fitness, this design is better than last one, east will see lighting from highway, not in keeping with neighborhood, concerned about height, will see big chunk of the building.
Planner Cross stated copies of all emails were provided to the Commission.
Mr. Monahan stated this is a comprehensive sign package and they are amending their current package and will serve tenants as they come and go, Ulta will be in the shopping center, Binny’s will not be on it right away, it is about 10% smaller than the LA Fitness sign, the only other tower with signage is LA Fitness and it is 45’ and this one is 40’, north and south side will have lighting and there will be a timer set for11:00 PM which is the time the center closes, here for the third time, here for a real reason and they believe the signage and architectural element is important to the center, looking to invest and maintain the center to the highest standard Highland Park expects, trying to be a good neighbor, have gone back to the drawing board, will provide sustainability for the center and design that will work within community framework, are a football field from closest neighbors and it is a reasonable buffer.
Mr. Hal Francke, Meltzer, Purtill & Stelle, 1515 E. Woodfield Rd., Schaumburg, IL, Attorney, stated they appreciate the ongoing concerns of the neighbors which have been addressed, valued asset of community, parking is not before the Commission, there is more than enough parking and there are 41 land banked spaces at the north end, nearest residence is 376’, is not a request for planned development approval, have responded to neighbor concerns, sign farther away involves different set of problems, never said they had the right to do this, Crossroads has approved sign package, requesting amendment to package, maintain Crossroads as a successful development, standards for approval have been met, client has gone out of their way to make sure it is compatible with surrounding buildings, efforts have been made to reduce light and impact on the public rights of way, and is reasonably necessary.
Commissioner Leaf asked if there were two tower elements without signs in the center and the height.
Mr. Monahan stated they were not higher than 35’.
Vice Chair Reinstein stated he had settled in on the width that had been presented before and did not have favorable things to say about the wider sign. Regarding the design review, he liked the tower better than trellis.
Chair Hecht stated he was troubled by the sign getting wider and is the sign really necessary for the continued success of the center. He asked if Ulta’s lease is conditional on getting the sign and why the sign is needed to keep the center leased up if there are other retailers who have said no. He asked if there are other potential leases that hinge on a sign.
Mr. Monahan stated Party City left for Northbrook because they would have better visibility onto Skokie Valley Rd. Every tenant has signage facing the highway and they are direct competition. Ulta wanted a sign facing 70,000 cars per day and made it a condition at first but when they said they could not promise they still agreed to come. With a possible 30% vacancy on the horizon this provides the best change to provide the highest standards tenants in the marketplace and to compete in the marketplace.
Mr. Schuster mentioned pages 24-25 of the packet for the design and sign package standards. There are two different elements the building and the standards regarding the sign package which focuses on whether it is compatible with the design and materials of the buildings and the second is regarding the sign package. It is important to focus on those issues and it is really about the standards before the Commission.
Planner Cross stated the appropriate thing would be for a motion to approve or deny. This is a design review item and the Commission has final review authority.
Commissioner Glazer stated the first time this was before the Commission he voted for, and the second time he voted against. The concerns they heard pertained to lighting as well as look of the signage. There was a valid concern that it evoked images of an outlet mall. In response to those comments the applicant addressed those comments and have returned with a different look which is more sensitive to the neighborhood and there are no light facing the neighbors and he was not concerned about the width. He thought it was a reasonable trade off since there is no signage facing east. They have gone for a different look consistent with the trellis look. As Corporate Counsel stated when you consider the standards it is difficult to conclude the applicant has not complied with the standards. Everyone has a different feel about this but retail is struggling in Highland Park and nationally and they are asking for a sign that is not as high as the LA Fitness sign. It is not a look that hurts the tenants and another factor to assist a struggling center that is an important component of Highland Park that does help the City. They are attempting to do this in a way that minimizes the negative impacts of any signage. He understood the opposition, but did not think this was the kind of proposal that strikes fear in hearts of reasonable people. He thought they have presented a more favorable look and would support the application.
Chair Hecht stated Commissioner Glazer had summed this up succinctly. He lives to the west and stops there daily.
Chair Hecht entertained a motion to approve. Commissioner Leaf motioned to approve the proposal from the applicant to modify the sign package as presented, seconded by Commissioner Glazer.
Planner Cross called the roll:
Ayes: Pearlstein, Leaf, Glazer, Hecht
Nays: Kutscheid, Reinstein
Motion carried 4-2.
B. Public Hearing #18-101-PUD-002 - Concurrent Preliminary and Final Planned Development with a Subdivision and Design Review for the Audi Exchange Dealership at 2490 Skokie Valley Rd.
This item will be continued without discussion to the March 6, 2018 PDC agenda.
Commissioner Reinstein motioned to continue, seconded by Commissioner Pearlstein. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Planner Cross stated this will be rescheduled to the March 6, 2018 agenda.
C. Public Hearing #17-12-SUP-005 - Consideration of Findings of Fact for a Special Use Permit to Allow a Kennel, a Conditional Land Use, to Operate on the Property Located at 842 Old Trail Rd.
Planner Kosmatka made a presentation for the above item including previous action, staff has drafted findings of fact, Conditions of Approval and recommendation.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked if the applicant agreed with all the conditions.
Planner Cross stated Ms. Martin had and the conditions were consistent with the previous meeting and the applicant is here.
Chair Hecht asked Ms. Martin if she accepted the conditions.
Mr. Martin stated she accepted the conditions.
Chair Hecht entertained a motion to approve the findings as drafted by staff. Commissioner Reinstein so motioned, seconded by Commissioner Pearlstein.
Director Fontane called the roll:
Ayes: Pearlstein, Leaf, Kutscheid, Glazer, Reinstein, Hecht
Motion carried 6-0.
D. Public Hearing #17-08-PUD-009 - Continuation for a Concurrent Preliminary and Final Planned Development with Subdivision and Design Review for Oakwood Residences, a Four-Story Multi-Family Building Located at 1554, 1564 and 1576 Oakwood Ave.
Planner Cross made a presentation for the above item including project location, previous consideration, requests and recommendations, key changes in revised plans, front elevation, revised building height, building rendering, contextual rendering, summary of zoning relief, public testimony, revisions to plans, planned development standards and recommendation.
Commissioner Leaf mentioned one of the residents worked for the Botanic Garden and was concerned about the tree in front. He asked if the City Forester had commented on this.
Planner Cross stated he had and did not identify any immediate danger to the tree given the steps taken.
Commissioner Leaf asked about the photometric plan and if this was a requirement.
Planner Cross stated photometric analyses were provided with previous iterations and there is a low level of light. There was not enough light for photometric calculations. There are several wall packs and four bollards approaching the street. The photometrics meet City standards or are well under.
Commissioner Leaf stated the staff report mentioned LED bulbs with 60 watts. He thought they meant 60-watt equivalent.
Planner Cross stated is would be duly noted.
Commissioner Leaf stated there was a previous email from a resident who is an architect and he mentioned dimensions not coinciding correctly and elevations not being labeled. He asked if these had been incorporated into the new plans.
Planner Cross stated they had and the plans needed to be clear about heights.
Mr. Elliot Wiczer, 500 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, IL, Attorney, made a presentation including between the last and this meeting they heard comments from neighbors, met twice with neighbors, not able to submit additional changes they made and will incorporate additional changes, original plans had height at 48’, reduced to 46’8”, updated front rendering with tree, able to reduce floor to ceiling heights to 9’6” on each floor which saved 1’2”, penthouse parapet will be reduced, want to have excellent product, revised to 9’4”, corner roofs lowered to half size, top part of corner roofs lowered by over 7’, chart of previous heights, seeing from street the 37’9.5” to the third floor parapet, rendering of building is actual, LaSalle Place is higher, comports with neighborhood, similar to LaSalle Place, penthouses are not visible, Green Bay Rd. views, landscape plan incorporated to include comments of City Forester, will plant maple trees and perennials to north, updated tree inventory, significant effort to maintain trees, ginkgo to be preserved, side elevation, added windows to sides, fourth floor plans stepped back at rear additional 5’ to make less visible, maximized depth of garage, reconfigured entrance to garage, lowered property by 22”, got the height as low as they could, open 4’ fence on south side, building materials, other buildings in town are 40’, 42’ and are not seeking same height relief and they have a 50% lot coverage, this project has a 33% lot coverage, not impacting neighborhood with fourth floor, not asking for a fee in lieu, reached out to 200 neighbors which resulted in a better project and incorporated comments from neighbors.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked if the zoning height was the parapet wall.
Planner Cross stated for a flat roof building the height measurement is from grade to the top of the coping.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if there anything that showed the fourth floor rear setback.
Mr. Wiczer stated this appears on A1.3.
Commissioner Leaf asked if the stepback was increased.
Mr. Wiczer stated it was increased by 3’ and it is on the plan.
Commissioner Leaf asked if these were the correct dimensions.
Mr. Wiczer stated they were correct.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if it was a flat roof.
Mr. Wiczer stated it was a flat roof and would be stepped back from the parapet 3’.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if this was a new attribute to the building.
Mr. Wiczer stated originally the stepback was on the front elevation and you can see the new dimensions on A1.3.
Commissioner Reinstein mentioned the new element of the roof and if there is a stepback and thought they should have of a view of what it will look like.
Mr. Wiczer stated with the additional information tonight and for this piece they know they have to come back and bring this information. If the Commission approves they would bring back this information. This would only block the view and will not impact the height.
Commissioner Leaf asked if the roof line would meet the top of the fourth floor.
Mr. Wiczer stated it would basically block all the way to the forth floor.
Commissioner Leaf asked about windows on the fourth floor.
Mr. Wiczer stated not on the sides.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the front elevation materials.
Mr. Rick Meyer, Fulton Developers, Project Manager, stated the brick for the front elevation is Old Hickory face brick.
Commissioner Reinstein asked where this would be.
Mr. Meyer stated this would be on the front elevations of the building.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the red brick.
Mr. Meyer stated that would be all the red brick on the building.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if there was another brick that was not red.
Mr. Meyer stated there is limestone and a capstone on the face of the building. The lime stone is at the bump outs.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the third floor.
Mr. Meyer stated the capstone is along the third floor.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked about the face brick.
Mr. Meyer stated the face brick is the Old Hickory and it is a full brick.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the black and gray.
Mr. Meyer stated the black is a dark bronze material they are using for the metal bays at the rear and they are using a weathered zinc for the roofs of the bays.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked about the patio walls.
Mr. Meyer stated it is a hardie board material.
Commissioner Reinstein asked where the hardie board would be.
Mr. Meyer stated it would be within the parapet walls on top of the terraces. The fascia and soffits would all be hardie board including all the triangular portions of the bays.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the coping.
Mr. Meyer stated the copings would be metal and limestone.
Commissioner Leaf asked to see the north and south elevations and asked if they were exposed CMUs on the lower right.
Mr. Meyer stated they were limestone.
Commissioner Leaf asked why this was different from the others.
Mr. Meyer stated it ties in both the east and west elevations.
Commissioner Leaf stated he thought it was disconcerting and stood out.
Mr. Meyer stated it wraps the ribbon of the first floor and accentuates each bay. It is more of a contrast element rather than having it all face brick.
Commissioner Leaf stated he was fine with the front elevations but was not sure about the side elevations.
Commissioner Pearlstein stated it was a pretty contrast.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated there was not a lot of interest on the north and south elevations.
Mr. Wiczer stated the added larger windows on each side to break it up.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated it needs more excitement. The brick patio walls appear they are set on a concrete wall asked how much of the concrete will be showing.
Mr. Meyer stated none of it will show. It will be masonry to the grade.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked if the patio wall returns to the corner.
Mr. Meyer confirmed this.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked the height of the wall on the street side.
Mr. Meyers stated it is a 4’1” wall.
Mr. Wiczer stated they could add more full sized windows on the side elevations.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated it is more important to focus on the area closer to the street because that is what people will see rather than the rear.
Mr. Wiczer stated they could add larger windows closer to the front elevation and closer to the rear yard also on both the north and south sides.
Mr. Meyer stated there will also be a limestone coping.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked how it will look down the driveway and if there is a concrete wall at the end.
Mr. Meyer stated it is a guest parking lot.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked if the end of the section opens to grade.
Mr. Meyer stated it is open to grade.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked if they needed the stairs.
Mr. Meyer these are for the basement.
Mr. Wiczer stated it is covered guest parking open to air but covered.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked if the top of the carport would be at grade and if it would be used for activities.
Mr. Wiczer stated it was a terrace.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked when you look down driveway are you looking at garbage cans.
Mr. Meyer stated there will be gates in front of them.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked what the gate will look like.
Mr. Meyer stated it would be a cedar wood slatted gate.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the height.
Mr. Meyer stated it would be 8’.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if a guest parks in the back how do they get into the building.
Mr. Wiczer stated there are steps and they would have access to the property.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if you could get around the south side at grade or do you have to go all the way around to the north side.
Mr. Wiczer stated there are walking paths.
Commissioner Leaf asked if there was no public entry on the west side.
Mr. Wiczer confirmed this.
Commissioner Reinstein stated they had to get back to the east side.
Mr. Meyer stated there is one front entry and one north.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked about the guardrail on the terrace.
Mr. Meyers stated it is brick parapet.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the retaining wall on the south side and it is scored. He thought they could make it look better maybe with a red brick cap.
Mr. William Farrell, 1449 Oakwood, Highland Park, IL, mentioned raising the south roof line will be detrimental to their view because it will expose more of the penthouse, shows open railing, asked to be put on top of the parapet wall, cedar fence, shear off sides of arbor vitae, findings of fact reduced height of building by only 16” not 22”, taller wall in front, brick colors lighter in tone on upper part, stepbacks on front corner is not stepped back, wants to see drawings representational of what is being done, front terraces projecting far out, grilling on Oakwood and front terrace walls need to be studied.
Mr. Kevin Cullather, 1549 Green Bay Rd., Highland Park, IL, was concerned about the monster in his back yard, fourth floor is above 35’ height limit, applicant has not shown hardships, if they can’t have fourth floor they would have a larger footprint, could lower ceilings, from rear side will see a 45’ tall building, fascia on fourth floor will stand out bright white at top and will not blend in with foliage, can lower ceilings to 8’ to 8’5”, does not need higher ceilings, less energy efficient, consider if they really need a 9.5’ ceiling.
Mr. Wiczer stated they provided a rendering, neighbor is over 200’ from building, limestone is a resolvable issue, it is about a product you can sell, they have reduced ceiling height, people who are buying new construction want 10’ ceilings, cannot see building from Green Bay Rd., it is a PUD, overall creative design is trying to accomplish something unique in Highland Park, impact on neighbors will be reduced due to the design.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the exterior skin for the fourth floor.
Mr. Wiczer stated it is the capstone.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated they are missing some important pieces – what it will look like on the north and south elevations and the roof line. They are still 13’ over zoning code.
Commissioner Reinstein stated it is a big ask and he thought the public benefit was appropriate for the ask.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated he looked at it as a transition zone from what feels like a single family neighborhood to a more denser property.
Commissioner Reinstein stated the site is the site and the buildings next door are comparable in height and are on a much smaller site so they cannot carry that kind of bulk.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated the ones farther north are more dense zoning.
Commissioner Pearlstein stated the ones across the street are large as well.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if LaSalle was more dense.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated it was RM2.
Commissioner Reinstein stated RM1 allows for 35’.
Commissioner Glazer stated they do not have to answer this tonight and the applicant has stated they would come back with more information, there was valuable input from the neighbors, it is a handsome design, it would be a strong addition to Highland Park, not terribly concerned about incongruity in the block, they do not have to fit the mold, does not consider it less than harmonious, the project is consistent with demand, considering the housing stock across street and on either side this will not stand out, thought it will work and is a thoughtful design, the issue will be how it will look in the long run and whether they are comfortable with the sizeable amount of relief.
Commissioner Pearlstein stated it is a handsome building, fits in the area and the buildings around it are similar.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated the buildings to the south do not match this building.
Commissioner Reinstein stated they were never going to match because the zoning is different. The site was three sites and if each was developed in RM1 zoning you would see something like a two or three story townhome and whoever comes in front of the Commission has to deal with the site that is there.
Commissioner Glazer stated the buildings to the south are smaller, older and less expensive. The developer is going to build something they feel is suitable for the market.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated the zoning has smaller units within the building envelope. Height restriction creates an envelope. They are asking for larger units extending beyond RM1 zoning.
Chair Hecht stated they can have up to 20 units. It is a big height relief but it has to look right.
Commissioner Glazer stated they did get data to consider the heights of the surrounding buildings and they looked at this. In light of the surrounding properties it does not stand out.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if they were going to move this along until they see new elevations.
Chair Hecht stated there was some concern about the accuracy of the measurements. They could continue to get additional information.
Commissioner Reinstein stated the inaccuracies need to be corrected and then brought back.
Planner Cross stated there have been three public hearings and it may be helpful to bring findings of fact to the next meeting. They can be written to make a specific recommendation and it would be helpful to have findings brought to the fourth meeting. The plans will be addressed to reflect the changes discussed tonight. If findings are not brought to the fourth meeting then there will need to be a fifth. If there are discussion points important to the Commission they should ask the applicant to address them. There is no sense in fifth public hearing if the applicant can address their concerns at a fourth meeting.
Chair Hecht stated he agreed.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if they needed a resolution tonight.
Planner Cross stated the direction would be to direct staff to draft findings of fact recommending approval or denial. If the Commission is not sure what recommendation should be made the findings can be revised at the next meeting.
Mr. Schuster stated a vote to direct findings is not a vote on the matter.
Chair Hecht asked if they could direct staff to prepare findings without any recommendation.
Mr. Schuster stated they could prepare two drafts, one in favor and one against.
Commissioner Reinstein moved to direct staff to prepare findings of fact in favor of the project subject to the revised plans they receive at the next meeting. Commissioner Pearlstein seconded.
Director Fontane called the roll:
Ayes: Leaf, Pearlstein, Glazer, Reinstein, Hecht
Motion carried 5-1.
Planner Cross stated the next meeting is March 6th and they would need the revised materials by Monday of next week.
Mr. Wiczer asked if they had enough information in terms of what the Commission has asked for or should they inquire in terms of making sure they have everything they need for the next meeting.
Planner Cross stated if there are outstanding issues the Commission wants to address they should so advise. They will work with applicant on any other issues.
Commissioner Leaf wanted detailed north and south elevations showing the extended roof and larger windows.
Mr. Wiczer asked if they put in the larger windows would there be other design elements.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated it needs to be more interesting.
Commissioner Reinstein asked for labeling of the exterior materials.
Commissioner Leaf asked for detailed drawings of the front balconies.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked for wall heights of the garden walls front and rear.
Commissioner Glazer mentioned the contextual compatibility of the height they are requesting.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated previous data did not include anything to the south.
Commissioner Reinstein asked for the height of the building looking west.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked for heights of all the surrounding buildings.
Commissioner Leaf asked for a detailed drawing of the south retaining wall.
Planner Cross stated staff will work with the applicant for the March 6th meeting.
Chair Hecht entertained a motion to continue to March 6th. Motioned by Commissioner Reinstein. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Director Fontane stated the public hearing will still be open and there will be no additional notice.
E. Public Hearing #17-12-SUP-004 for a Special Use Permit to Allow a Change in Land Use from a Non-Conforming Use as Authorized by Section 150.902(G) for the Zoning Code for the Property Located at 579 Central Ave.
Planner Jackson made a presentation for the above item including application summary, project location, land use intensity, traffic impacts, parking impacts, number of employees, hours of operation, POSO district, real estate office pedestrian traffic generation, findings of fact and recommendation.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked about the definition of community space.
Planner Jackson stated there will be meeting rooms for rent.
Commissioner Glazer stated the last tenant was a non-conforming use and what they are suggesting is a less intense non-conforming use. The proposed tenant is currently in the POSO.
Planner Jackson stated not with the POSO boundaries recently passed.
Planner Cross stated they are in the B5.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if they were initially approved in the POSO.
Commissioner Glazer stated it is not a big change from the way things are now.
Planner Cross stated they will confirm whether the existing space is within the POSO.
Chair Hecht asked about the 45-50 off-site agents and how many will be in the office at any given time.
Planner Jackson stated the applicant can answer the question.
Mr. Wyllys Mann, 4314 N. Leavitt, Chicago, IL, Baird & Warner, made a presentation including the meeting rooms are free, they are outside of the current POSO, about one third of agents come in on a daily basis, attorneys visit office, 47 visitors/day on average, 53.5 visitors/day in peak season, Highland Park is consistent with other offices, banks are not particularly inviting to streetscape, opposite is true for a real estate office, goal is to encourage people to come in, want a building and office that has inviting design, believe they will bring benefit to the community, want to be part of the downtown community.
Commissioner Glazer stated he was close to suggesting the new space would be so inviting that foot traffic would be more intense.
Mr. Mann stated they wanted to attract people who are already downtown. Rather than generating more intense traffic, they hope to be inviting to the traffic already there.
Planner Cross stated intensity is the goal of the POSO. Yet they have the standard for this findings that is not intense. Standards are intended to be flexible and apply to different situations.
Chair Hecht stated they are looking for less intense non-confirming uses so they do not overtake the more intense conforming uses. The goal is to have retail in the POSO.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked about the hours of operation for the community room.
Mr. Mann stated they have an agent sponsor who is willing to stay behind to make sure the space is secure and there are some organizations who have established a level of trust with the office manager.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked about private use.
Mr. Mann stated is it not for private commercial uses but for a community benefit. A developer could have open meetings for residents.
Commissioner Leaf asked how many closings had occurred in 2017.
Ms. Lynn Kosner, 744 Lorraine Circle, Highland Park, IL, stated there were about 249 and 25% of those closed in the office.
Commissioner Leaf stated he was skeptical about the agents’ parking demands and did not think there was enough supply.
Ms. Kosner stated employees will not be parking in the adjacent lot. If there is a time frame the agents are requested to be in the office they would request they use all of the lots throughout the area. The agents running in and out for hour or two could use the lot. They would not be there all day. If there is a training session or meeting they would request the to use other available parking.
Mr. Mann stated there is a time limit on parking in the lot and it is strictly enforced.
Commissioner Leaf stated the concern is the standard for this non-conforming use is that it be less intense. He thought it would be more intense.
Ms. Joan Loeb, 111 Laurel, Highland Park, IL, Landlord, stated they place stickers on cars parked for an extended period.
Ms. Beth Loeb stated if you are a repeat offender you would get a sticker on your car.
Chair Hecht asked what the sticker meant.
Ms. Beth Loeb stated it is a warning you will be towed the next time.
Commissioner Glazer asked about efforts made to find tenants for the space.
Ms. Beth Loeb stated they only had maybe one other person looking.
Commissioner Glazer asked what period of time this covered.
Ms. Beth Loeb stated about a year. There are 16 vacancies in the POSO right now.
Commissioner Reinstein asked about the history of the uses in that part of the center.
Ms. Joan Loeb stated there had been five banks and the last retail was Chestnut Court. There are so many vacancies and it is hard to get people interested. People like to look into the windows and there is a vacancy on a corner. Someone could walk by and be interested in a house. Why not have a state of the art facility for people to walk by with windows on two sides.
Mr. Dino Dimitrio, 1021 Saxony Dr., Highland Park, IL, stated he was part of a group with the goal of having the POSO removed and Council was against it and felt with the help of the Commission there would be better core shopping. He has an empty space next to it and was able to lease part of it. It is a corner property on Central and if the property does not go to retail the whole POSO should be removed. It is on prime real estate for retail in Highland Park and if it is allowed to have a non-POSO use then the whole POSO should be removed. This does not solve any vacancy issues downtown and the intensity is a greater use.
Ms. Beth Loeb stated this corner has been a non-conforming use for 30 years.
Chair Hecht asked how long it has been in effect.
Director Fontane stated is was around 2000.
Commissioner Reinstein stated it has not been a retail use for a long time.
Commissioner Reinstein motioned to approve staff drafted findings of fact in favor of the special use permit. Commissioner Glazer seconded.
Director Fontane called the roll:
Ayes: Pearlstein, Kutscheid, Glazer, Reinstein, Hecht
Motion carried 5-1.
F. Public Hearing #17-19-PUD-010 for a Major Amendment to the Hidden Oak Planned Development at the Southwest Corner of Compton Ave. and Livingston St.
Planner Jackson made a presentation for the above item including project summary, plat of survey, amendments summary, zoning relief - FAR, public benefit, front step encroachment, sidewalk location change, storm sewer location change, ordinance language changes, homeowners’ association reference, building permit issuance before site improvements are complete, references to revised engineering plans within the development agreement and recommendation.
Commissioner Leaf asked if overlooking the FAR was repeated in previous PUDs.
Planner Jackson stated she did not know.
Planner Cross stated they had not looked into this. Multi-unit single family PUDs are uncommon and they had the Heritage on a five acre tract. Also they had Green at the Spring and no relief was required.
Director Fontane stated the original developer did not say much about the houses. 1,900 s.f. could be allowed. It is not as if you could not do anything there.
Commissioner Leaf asked if the original was one or two story.
Planner Cross stated they scoured the public record as they wanted to make sure that FAR relief was necessary and there was only a peripheral reference to ranch homes. There was also reference to two story homes.
Commissioner Leaf asked if the original title was with the bank and then transferred to Jacobs.
Mr. Schuster stated when the ordinance was passed initially Hidden Oak was the applicant and contract purchaser of the property.
Director Fontane stated they went to Council for an approval of the transfer of the property.
Planner Cross stated they would defer to the applicant for details.
Commissioner Glazer stated of the nine requests only the first two are substantive to consider and the 65.2 is striking. He asked if the Commission had granted this type of relief before.
Planner Cross stated it does not seem out of context, but when you look at the numerical amount of relief it is rare to see a variation of that percentage.
Commissioner Glazer asked about the public benefit and other than the $750.00 are there any other proposed public benefits outside of the development itself. He asked if the reconstruction of Livingston helps the public.
Planner Cross stated that was perceived to have an impact outside of the development. The first two are restricted to the development itself.
Commissioner Reinstein stated there were grade issues and slope issues with the driveways. They stated they would create a curb to prevent water from entering the neighbors’ properties.
Commissioner Glazer stated it is hard to construe that as a public benefit.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked about the relief granted for the first development.
Planner Cross stated there was a lot a site design related relief.
Commissioner Reinstein stated there was no need for any of them not like the FAR.
Commissioner Leaf asked about a chart showing the percentages of relief.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if at the time of the first presentation the developer had said he was going to put 10 3,072 s.f. homes what sort of analysis would have been presented and if they had it now.
Planner Cross stated they would give a clear picture about the percentage of zoning relief and any precedent and how the homes, if granted the relief, would be in context with the surrounding area.
Commissioner Reinstein stated sometimes in the past they would receive a schematic stating what the zoning gave the developer the right to do and if this would apply here.
Planner Cross stated they did this with a multi-family project on McGovern.
Commissioner Reinstein stated they looked at this as building pads as opposed to a certain number of lots you could build on. There was a project previously approved and there was a natural ease of approval. He asked if they could start over on the FAR to see what you can do in R6. He asked if the City would require bonding to cover the public improvement work.
Director Fontane stated yes.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if were enough finds to finish it could they take some comfort from that.
Director Fontane stated you can have a PUD that is phased. In this case you would want storm water management done because the site had issues. There is a road they are going to create and they are looking to do some houses early in Livingston and hold off on the road. They should be concerned if someone walks away. It is better to have all the infrastructure in except for the top coat on a subdivision road. He stated Livingston is already there and they could make a case for building a house on a road that already exists.
Ms. Debbie Beaver, DR Horton Emerald Homes, 750 Bunker, Vernon Hills, IL, Applicant, stated the site was previously approved for 17 townhomes, Sun Trust Bank owns the site, trying to clear up the ordinance so they can close on the property. She made a presentation including experience, modifications they are asking for do not change the essence of the development, have built more than 25 homes in Highland Park, 3,000 s.f. FAR, platted as building pads and not lots, porch step, offsite sidewalk along Compton, site is subject of foreclosure, requesting land development and home building at the same time and would not sell and/or close homes until all improvements are complete.
Commissioner Leaf asked if it is zoned the same.
Planner Cross stated the underlying zoning is consistent with R5.
Commissioner Reinstein stated the chart shows total square footage and does not show anything relating to a building pad.
Ms. Beaver stated the average FAR is 3,000 s.f.
Director Fontane stated asked if they did not want to install the hammerhead.
Ms. Beaver stated they do but they did not need it before they started construction.
Commissioner Glazer asked about the public benefit.
Ms. Beaver stated the public benefit was reconstructing Livingston and installing new water mains, storm sewer, sanitary sewer, curb and gutter and off site work on City property to the west to help the detention. There will be a carriage walk along Livingston and repaving Compton.
Commissioner Glazer asked if the sewer work is because if you add 10 homes to the existing systems you will have flooding problems.
Ms. Beaver stated the entire back area is detention and it serves the 10 lots. A lot of the work is for the surrounding site.
Commissioner Glazer stated when they talk about public benefit they view a public benefit as something external to the project not something that benefits the project or is offered to accommodate the project. They are proposing to improve sewer system right outside their property which suggests that this is less than external public benefit.
Ms. Beaver stated the carriage walk and repaving Compton would be an offsite public benefit. They are not asking for something additional to the site that was not already contemplated.
Commissioner Leaf asked to see the slide addressing public benefit. He thought they were under selling themselves and have mentioned things that were not in the documentation.
Ms. Beaver mentioned the $750.00 contribution for the bike path sign. They are repaving Compton and installing a carriage walk along Compton.
Commissioner Leaf stated it does not mention that and asked about the sewer main.
Ms. Beaver stated they are doing the water main, the sewer and the storm sewer line in Livingston.
Mr. Hal Francke, Meltzer, Purtill & Stelle, 1515 E. Woodfield Rd., Schaumburg, IL, Attorney, mentioned he had been involved with the property since 2004, originally platted for townhomes, the developer lost the property to the bank, City has been waiting for development of property for 15 years, contactor coming into set of already approved plans, public benefit is in the existing development agreement previously considered and approved, not lots but building pads, here for a major amendment, FAR was overlooked, not willing to close on property with this being an issue, client brought up FAR had not been addressed, it was approached as how big were the houses represented to be, what does it translate to in terms of FAR and how does it exceed what would be permitted in R6, public benefit has been resolved, not asking for something new, trying to address oversight.
Commissioner Glazer stated they are not bound by the previous consideration. They are submitting nine avenues of relief. They are asking the Commission to grant the relief in the proposal.
Mr. Francke stated the only zoning relief being requested is FAR because is was never addressed.
Commissioner Glazer stated it was an oversight.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if it was addressed in the public benefit. The public benefit is commensurate with the relief being requested.
Mr. Francke stated is was noted at the time homes would be 3,100 s.f. and this is not new. There is not a new request for FAR relief.
Chair Hecht stated Planner Cross mentioned they had scoured the record and found only a hint of it.
Planner Cross stated it was for an approved housing model of 2,700 s.f. and for the garage to be part of the PUD and contemplated as FAR relief at the time.
Commissioner Reinstein stated they receive a summary of relief being sought and FAR was not on there and not considered in the public benefit.
Director Fontane stated the staff report on the matter stated “the proposed subdivision contains 10 building pads each around 2,700 s.f. with a shared open space and hammerhead turnaround.”
Commissioner Reinstein asked if there was an FAR.
Director Fontane stated he did not know.
Ms. Beaver stated the product was approved and was attached to the PUD. The FAR was exceeded but it was approved. In Dec. 2016 agenda there are elevations from Jacobs that show large two-story homes on the site.
Mr. Schuster stated that for the application that is before the Commission they need to make a decision on the relief being granted. Do they think the public benefit was appropriate and meant to include the FAR, was it an oversight and part of the policy decision made by the Commission and Council. He did not know if there was a clear answer where something states that the public benefit calculation included FAR or did not. The repaving of Compton is not a requirement. The requirement for Compton is the carriage walk, sidewalks and mountable curbs within the Compton right-of-way.
Commissioner Kutscheid asked if 3,100 s.f. is the right FAR.
Director Fontane stated this is what they are asking for. There were exterior building elevations in the prior approval and they showed two stories. The elevations provided tonight minimize the appearance of bulk.
Ms. Beaver stated the engineering plans which are part of the agreement, show this part of Livingston is a complete reconstruct including water main, sewer and storm sewer.
Commissioner Kutscheid stated this may not be counted as part of the public benefit because they may have to repave it anyway due to construction traffic.
Ms. Beaver stated the elevations were in the exhibit to the Commission on Dec. 2016 and they are large homes. They are downsizing it to 10 homes and she was not sure anyone thought they needed FAR relief. They never did an FAR calculation because they approved the plans within the PUD.
Mr. Francke stated he saves everything and he had the original 2006 development agreement for the 18 townhomes and FAR was not addressed.
Ms. Beaver stated the plans were approved.
Commissioner Reinstein asked if the floor plans were a part of that presentation.
Ms. Beaver stated the townhomes were started to be built and were approved.
Chair Hecht stated they needed more information before they could proceed further and asked for specific requests from the Commission.
Commissioner Leaf stated he wanted to see a FAR analysis for this project along with Legacy and Heritage.
Commissioner Reinstein stated he wanted to see the size of the sites.
Ms. Beaver asked if the relevance was the FAR itself.
Planner Cross stated the way it was subdivided it has one property and the FAR is attributable to that one property. It happens there are 10 building pads. It could be resubdivided to six pads and each could have a 3,000 s.f. house without any zoning relief. The subdivision has one lot and FAR is applicable to that lot.
Commissioner Glazer stated it was not their fault it had not been discovered until now and seeing a number of 65% for FAR is jarring.
Chair Hecht stated he would like to see the 2006 approval.
Commissioner Glazer suggested they take another look at the proposed public benefit. They are now considering a FAR request and it does not look today that is it a reasonable public benefit. Few elements seem to be a true public benefit and contributing $750.00 is a public benefit, but maybe not enough to get by today.
Ms. Beaver stated this was approved a year ago. The property is sitting vacant, failed once, is in foreclosure and upside down. She did not know if they had to come up with more public benefit if the would continue with the site. If they want more public benefit they probably do not want another meeting.
Chair Hecht stated they need to decide whether to proceed the way it is or revisit some of the issues and they can not tell them what to do.
Ms. Beaver stated she came here to clarify the PUD agreement.
Chair Hecht stated that was the reason they are requesting the additional information to determine if that is the case. They need to see record to determine this.
Director Fontane stated they can have this for the next meeting.
Planner Cross stated the March 6th agenda will have Audi, Oakwood, and a possible pre- app. He thought once they present the evidence with conversation will be very direct.
Ms. Beaver stated she did not mean to be disrespectful but wanted to be honest and not waste people’s time. She appreciated the Commission’s time.
Mr. Francke asked to see the presentation and mentioned the nine elements and said the revisions to the development agreement are issues they make a recommendation on. They are part of the application and they want the revisions made to the development agreement. He did not think the word changes were the relief they need to consider and are not zoning relief. To change references in the development agreement to the current engineering plans is not something that would typically come before them.
Planner Cross stated they were not going to parse the request into things that appear before the Commission and then things that go to Council.
Director Fontane stated this is a minor amendment.
Mr. Schuster stated the applicant is correct in that he did not know if they needed to hone in all the little tweaks and changes in the development agreement. They honed in on the fundamental issues they are being asked to consider. The one of the last three is the issue of permitting construction prior to completion of public improvements.
Chair Hecht stated they would not spend a lot of time on non-controversial issues.
Ms. Beaver wanted to clarify the issues needing to be resolved are the public benefit and the FAR.
Commissioner Reinstein stated they would have the public improvements done by the time they are asking for an occupancy permit.
Ms. Beaver stated they wanted to do both work at the same time.
Director Fontane stated they are making explicit things that they can chose anyway as administrators.
Chair Hecht entertained a motion to continue the item to the March 6th meeting. Commissioner Reinstein so motioned, seconded by Commissioner Pearlstein. On a voice vote, the motion passed unanimously.
V. Other Business
A. Administrative Design Reviews - Informational items only, no vote required. No administrative design review approvals for review.
B. Next Regular Meeting - March 6, 2018
C. Case Briefing
VI. Business From The Public
VII. Staff Report
Chair Hecht entertained a motion to adjourn. On a voice vote, the motion passed unanimously.
The Plan and Design Commission adjourned at 12:20 am.