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Saturday, February 22, 2020

City of Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission met May 1

By Kristine Gonzales-Abella | Aug 14, 2019

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City of Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission met May 1.

Here is the minutes provided by the commission:

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Hayden at 7:30 p.m. On roll call, members Esposito, Goss, Greenman, Jouron, Philpot, Skluzacek, and Hayden were present.

Elizabeth Maxwell, City Planner, and Katie Cowlin, Assistant City Planner, were present from Staff.

Mr. Hayden asked those in attendance to rise to say the Pledge of Allegiance. He led those in attendance in the Pledge.

Mr. Hayden stated that this meeting was being televised now, as well as, recorded for future playback on the City’s cable station. He added to please use the sign in sheets in the rear of the Chambers and he will call the names from the list for anyone who wishes to speak.

APPROVE MINUTES OF THE APRIL 17, 2019 PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION MEETING

Mr. Philpot moved to approve the minutes from the April 17, 2019 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting as presented. Mr. Goss seconded the motion. On roll call, members Esposito, Goss, Greenman, Philpot, and Skluzacek, and Hayden voted aye. Mr. Jouron abstained. Motion passed.

PLN-2019-026 CRYSTAL LAKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL – 45 W Franklin Ave. – PUBLIC HEARING

Special Use Permit to allow an accessory structure over 900 square feet in area.

Mr. Hayden stated that the sign had been posted. He said the surrounding property owners were notified and the Certificate of Publication was in the file. Mr. Hayden waived the reading of the legal notice without objection.

Jeff Daurer with District 155, and Jeremy Davis, District 155 Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations, were present to represent the petition. Mr. Daurer said the district currently does not have an existing grounds storage building. There is a small building at Crystal Lake South High School. Currently, they keep their equipment outside, which is not good for the equipment or the neighbors. They are requesting approval of a 3,600 square foot storage building for the District’s equipment. Mr. Daurer said they appreciate the Commissioners’ time tonight. Mr. Davis said the District would like the storage building to be more fiscally responsible with the equipment they have.

Mr. Daurer showed the location of the building which is just outside the varsity baseball field. It would be approximately 500 feet from their south property line, 1,200 feet from their west property line, and 80 feet from the east property line. He added that the closest neighbor is approximately 800 feet away. The building would be metal and is modeled after the storage building at South Elementary School.

Bob Vetter, 223 S. Walkup, said he is not concerned with the storage building. He is concerned with the reduced enrollment of the schools, and their consolidation. Mr. Vetter asked if this building would take care of the equipment for all of the schools. Mr. Daurer said it would store all of the grounds equipment for all four high schools. Mr. Vetter asked about the paved path to the building. Mr. Daurer said the Fire Department is requesting the path to be 10 feet wide for their equipment. Mr. Vetter said even with the gravel path, there are many people who drive back to the ballfields for their games. If it is paved, someone will use it. This would be inviting people to use as a cut through. He suggested gating the path. He is concerned with the number of people going back there and asked how will people be deterred from using that path. Mr. Daurer said the road is not intended for traffic and would be used by district employees picking up equipment. They can post signs restricting the use to authorized vehicles only. Mr. Vetter asked about the possible fueling station. Mr. Daurer said that is a possibly in the future and it would be specifically for grounds equipment. Mr. Vetter said he is not opposed to the building, but he is concerned with who will be using the path. He would like to see something done to deter people from going back there

Signs do not work. Mr. Daurer said there would be security cameras there too.

Steve Verseman, 27 Hill Drive, is also concerned with the traffic that goes on the property. He agrees that there needs to be something other than signs. There needs to be more control over the use of the path. He feels that 10 feet seems narrow and may need to be wider. He asked if the fuel tank would be above or below ground.

There was no one else in the public who wished to comment on this request. The public portion was closed at this time.

Mr. Davis stated regarding consolidation, they have completed a study that shows the schools will be in decline for the next seven years and then will increase again. They have no plans to consolidate the schools.

Mr. Jouron said it is amazing how far people do not want to walk to get somewhere. There is parking to the north, but no parking to the south of the property. People will come down the driveway and park all over. He is not sure what would deter people from using the path. Mr. Jouron asked where will the fence be located. Mr. Daurer explained the location of the fence around the building. Mr. Jouron said people currently park where the building would be.

Mr. Esposito said parking back there has always been a problem. He is concerned with the lighting in that building. Mr. Daurer said they would have three cameras, which generally get people’s attention. Mr. Esposito asked what type of lighting would be used. Mr. Daurer said wall packs would be used. Mr. Esposito asked about the parking for the building. Mr. Daurer said there are only a couple of spaces, which are for the crew to use to pick up the equipment and go. Mr. Esposito said he is in favor of the building and it has been needed.

Mr. Greenman agrees with the having the security cameras and asked if they had considered motion detector lighting. That area is remote and he does not want people to be there when they should not be. Mr. Daurer said they will look into that. Mr. Greenman asked if this location was central for all of the district schools. Mr. Davis said this is the most centrally located school. Mr. Greenman asked if there were any other locations considered. Mr. Davis said they considered all options and there is space here. Mr. Daurer said Prairie Ridge is at the northern most location of the district and Cary Grove is at the southernmost. Mr. Greenman asked if the request for the fuel station would need to come back. Ms. Maxwell said no because it is not commercially sold and it would be reviewed by the State Fire Marshall. Mr. Greenman asked if there would be security for that. Ms. Maxwell said the State Fire Marshall’s Office looks mostly for leakage. Mr. Daurer said the tank would be inside the fenced area. Mr. Greenman ask if there would be any extra precautions taken with the fuel tank. He supports the concept, but would like to talk about the roadway. It is prudent to look at the road. He wants to limit the risks and ask the petitioners to think about how to control the traffic on that roadway. There needs to be access to that roadway by authorized users only. Mr. Greenman said this request meets the Findings of Fact and he supports the request.

Mr. Hayden asked the petitioners if they had any concerns with the conditions listed in the staff report. Mr. Daurer said they found the comments to be very helpful. They are ok with the conditions

Mr. Skluzacek agrees with comments made about safety, etc. He asked if the future gas tanks would be fenced in. Mr. Daurer yes. Mr. Skluzacek asked if the cameras would be monitored by the Police Department. Mr. Daurer said they would be recorded, the doors have security locks, and require a badge access. Mr. Skluzacek asked if the building would be heated. Mr. Daurer said yes. Mr. Skluzacek asked where the utility are located for this building. Mr. Daurer said they were very close - within 100 feet. Mr. Skluzacek agreed that the road should be a little wider.

Mr. Philpot asked where the equipment is stored now. Mr. Daurer said the winter equipment sits outside during summer. Also, they are not able to purchase as much salt as they would like to and should get better pricing. Moving the equipment around is challenging and it is expensive. Mr. Philpot said he is not concerned with the width of the pavement, but for the safety of people using the ball fields. He is concerned that people can drive on the fields and concerned for the children Mr. Philpot said he supports the request.

Mr. Goss agrees with the concern about the access road. There needs to be a bar across it with access for the Fire Department. He added that the width of the road would need to handle fuel delivery trucks. Mr. Goss asked about night security. Mr. Davis said there are only custodians in the building overnight. Mr. Daurer said if an alarm goes off, certain people are notified.

Mr. Hayden asked about the gas tank inside the fenced area. Mr. Daurer said their preliminary plans are for an above ground tank and not a massive tank. It would have a special shut off system. Mr. Hayden asked how the alarms in schools are monitored. Mr. Daurer said this building would not have students in it. Mr. Hayden has concerns with fuel tank and would prefer to have it monitored like the building. After the fact does not do anyone any good. He suggested a gate across the path. He asked if salt would be stored in the building. Mr. Daurer said yes in bags for the sidewalks not the parking lot. Mr. Hayden asked about the anticipated hours of operation for snow removal. Mr. Daurer said they would get the plows ready about 4 a.m.

Mr. Vetter asked if the lawn care equipment for all four schools is stored there all year. Mr. Daurer said they have one 11 foot mower on a trailer that travels to all buildings. It would be leaving there about 7 a.m. Mr. Vetter said the student start to arrive at 7 a.m. and you cannot get around because of the traffic. He asked where the road would be. Mr. Walsh said it would be centered over the existing gravel path. Mr. Vetter said people use the gravel path to get to the Immanuel Lutheran fields. He hopes they plan to plant evergreens to block the view of the building.

Mr. Greenman suggested additional security for the building. He also suggested to let the Police Department weight in on security of the building. Mr. Goss said staff can talk with the Police Department for their suggestions. Mr. Hayden said there are many deer that run through the property and is concerned that the motion lights would be going on and off all night. He suggested this building be monitored like the bike tunnel under Route 14. Ms. Cowlin said that is not staffed 24-7. It is taped.

Mr. Hayden asked if the Fire Department had any concerns with the fuel. Ms. Maxwell said no.

Mr. Greenman moved to approve the Special Use Permit to allow an accessory structure over 900 square feet in area for Crystal Lake Central High School at 45 W. Franklin Avenue with the following conditions:

1. Approved plans, reflecting staff and advisory board recommendations, as approved by the City Council:

A. Application (School, received 02/26/19)

B. Architecture Plans (FGM Architects, dated 02/27/19, received 02/26/19)

C. Engineering Plans (FGM Architects, dated 02/27/19, received 02/26/19)

D. Landscape Plan (FGM Architects, dated 02/27/19, received 02/26/19)

E. Plat of Survey (Marchese and Sons Inc., dated 12/29/14, received 02/26/19)

2. The petitioner must address all of the review comments and requirements of the Community Development, Fire Rescue, Police, and Public Works Departments.

3. Work with staff to provide restricted access to the roadway/path.

4. Include motion detection lighting on the building.

Mr. Jouron seconded the motion. On roll call, all members voted aye. Motion passed.

The Commissioners suggested that petitioner review with staff and the Police Department the monitoring of the security cameras.

PLN-2019-061 Axe Throwing Lounge – 975 Nimco Dr Unit D – PUBLIC HEARING

Alternative Use Permit for an axe throwing lounge, an All Other Amusement & Recreation use.

Mr. Hayden stated that the sign had been posted. He said the surrounding property owners were notified and the Certificate of Publication was in the file. Mr. Hayden waived the reading of the legal notice without objection.

Angelo Douros was present to represent the petition. Mr. Douros said his family currently owns three other businesses including a construction company, restaurant, and pet sitting service. He reviewed his business background. He said axe throwing is a lot of fun and the business in St. Charles is extremely busy, as well as, other locations. Mr. Douros said there are currently eleven locations in the Chicago area. It is a very simple concept similar to an indoor batting cage. He has contacted his insurance company and would have coverage as soon as the request is approved. Mr. Douros said they would have everyone sign a waiver. Many families do it and some companies do it as a team building event. He said there would be a nice entryway for going over the safety rules and signing the waivers. The remaining space is open. He showed the lane diagram. Mr. Douros said there is a World Axe Throwing League and these lanes would be to their standard. There is room for seven throwing lanes in the space. Some could be private and others open. Some places are charging $25 to $35 per hour and they are looking into having a monthly membership similar to a fitness center. Each axe throwing facility has age restrictions where anyone under 18 must be with a parent.

Mr. Hayden asked the petitioner if there are any concerns with conditions listed in the staff report. Mr. Douros did receive the report and did not have any concerns.

There was no one in the public who wished to comment on this request. The public portion was closed at this time.

Mr. Jouron asked about the hours of operation. Mr. Douros said during the week it would be 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday noon to 9 p.m. Many businesses in that area close at 4 p.m. Mr. Jouron asked if you can bring your own axe. Mr. Douros said they want to provide the axes at least in the beginning. There would be two axes per cage. Mr. Jouron asked about food. Mr. Douros said they could possibly have prepackaged snacks. Many places allow food to be brought in, but they do not want coolers to be brought in. This would be the safest route.

Mr. Esposito said this location is off the beaten track. Mr. Douros said no one will drive by and see this. Similar businesses in other communities are in industrial areas and are out of the way. It is a destination use. Mr. Esposito said getting there would be a challenge in the beginning. There is parking in front and back of the building and asked if there would be an entrance at each end. Mr. Douros said the only official entrance/exit would be through the front. Mr. Esposito said there are several videos on YouTube about axe throwing. Mr. Douros said he saw one with a rubberized floor and this location would have woodchips, which makes axes stop almost immediately. He has also looked at other locations to see what they do. Mr. Esposito asked about wall signage. Mr. Douros believes only a small sign is allowed in that area, which is fine. A small sign would be enough.

Mr. Greenman asked if there would be TV monitors. Mr. Douros said they may have one in the waiting area, but it would not be visible from the throwing area. Mr. Greenman said he does not want the people to be distracted. He asked if there would possibly be contests or tournaments. Mr. Douros said they could possibly have leagues. Mr. Greenman asked how many employees were they anticipating. Mr. Douros said possibly 3 to 4. Two people in the throwing area and two in front with the people waiting and checking in. Mr. Greenman said it seems the number of customers is unknown and asked how many stations would be at this location. Mr. Douros said 6 or 7. Mr. Greenman said it is important to tell the City Council the ratio of employees to customers. He also suggested training for employees, not only safety of the axes, but also some type of training with the Police Department to know how to spot customers who are under the influence. Mr. Douros said he has been in the restaurant and bar business and drinking and this type of business does not mix. Mr. Greenman also suggested thinking about the smoking area and be cautious with security. People may have something to drink in their car and then come back in. He suggested possibly not allow people to go to their cars during their axe throwing time. Having soda/water machine there is a good idea. He likes the area this would be in. Mr. Greenman said this meets the Findings of Fact and supports the request.

Mr. Skluzacek asked if there would be other types of amusements in the space. Mr. Douros said it would be only axe throwing. Some other businesses have other things available, such as an escape room. Ms. Cowlin said this business falls under the Alternative Use Permit category. Mr. Skluzacek said when he saw “lounge” he thought of liquor. Mr. Douros said there would not be any liquor. Mr. Skluzacek said he had never heard of this type of business. Mr. Douros said it is big in Canada and now making its way south. There are no locations out in this area and believes there would be many more in the near future. Mr. Skluzacek said his main concern is safety. Mr. Douros said they pride themselves on safety in their other businesses. Mr. Skluzacek asked if the business is full, would two employees be enough to handle it. Mr. Douros said if not they would take care of it. He added that there would be a window so the front employees can see what is happening in the back.

Mr. Philpot said he has not been to an axe throwing establishment, but several of his friends have done it. It is an interesting use. The location is a little out of the way, but it does fall into what other uses have. There are no bars in the immediate area, which is good since intoxication is a concern. He added that the employees need to be well trained. Mr. Philpot did not have any additional questions and supports the request.

Mr. Goss asked how many people can be involved with two lanes. Mr. Douros said they can have up to six in a group and there is a waiting area in each lane for the group. He was thinking of possibly having a divider to break up larger groups. Also, Monday could be for a private group and/or outings. Mr. Goss is concerned with people in the group waiting to throw and milling around. Mr. Douros said they were thinking about enclosing the back of the cage with fencing, as well as, the fencing on the top. He is concerned with safety. Mr. Goss asked if the Fire Department determines occupancy load. Ms. Cowlin said that they do calculate the limit. Ms. Goss suggested staggering the reservations. He said there are places he has visited that are very strict – even to the point of taking a breathalyzer due to the danger of the event.

Mr. Jouron asked about the minimum age. Mr. Douros said he has been to places that allow kids as young as 8. He prefers 14 with a parent.

Mr. Goss said he saw comments for businesses on the internet that got dinged for having only one person working. Mr. Douros said someone would always be monitoring.

Mr. Hayden asked how Alternative Use Permits work. Ms. Cowlin said it gives staff the ability to allow uses that don’t fit into our use table. In the future, the UDO could be amended to include that use as a Special Use Permit in the district. This allows staff the ability to observe the business. Mr. Hayden asked if it is the City’s intent to fill vacant manufacturing spaces. He said that manufacturing has been down for some time and is now starting to turn around. He questioned if we should put a fad use into a manufacturing space. Mr. Hayden said he did a significant amount of research on the use. He mentioned several instances found on the internet and checked with the State of Illinois about their regulations. They did not get back to him. The City does not have conditions for this sport either, which is a concern to him. Mr. Hayden there should not be any liquor allowed. Mr. Douros agreed and there would not be a bring your own either. Mr. Hayden said the hours of operation were mentioned. The City needs to be listed as additional insured. Mr. Douros agreed and the insurance company told him the City would be added to the policy. Mr. Hayden reviewed possible additional conditions with the applicant and the other Commission members. This information is from various communities that have this type of business already established in their community.

Mr. Greenman said he is comfortable with the petitioner going before City Council with information. We are asking the petitioner to agree or disagree to these provisions that he has not reviewed. Mr. Hayden continued to review the conditions he was suggesting. Mr. Greenman asked the petitioner to share his business structure with the City Council. He asked if all of the axes are the same weights. Mr. Douros aid they are about 3 pounds typically and they can supply lighter weights.

Mr. Hayden continued to review the conditions, which included training of the patrons before throwing the axes, training for the employees in proper IDs. Mr. Douros was in agreement with the majority of the items they reviewed.

Mr. Greenman asked if there will be clothing restrictions. Mr. Douros said there will be no sandals or tank tops allowed. T-shirts and close toe shoes would be required. Mr. Greenman thanked the petitioner for being incredibly patient with the Commissioners and his willingness to entertain our suggestions. He feels this is good for the community and we are growing. The use is unique.

Mr. Hayden said the items that were discussed and agreed to could be added to the conditions. Ms. Cowlin suggested a condition regarding working with staff to refine the operation of the business as discussed at the PZC meeting.

Mr. Greenman moved to approve the Alternative Use Permit for an axe throwing lounge, an All Other Amusement & Recreation use at 975 Nimco Drive Unit D with the following conditions:

1. Approved plans, reflecting staff and advisory board recommendations, as approved by the City Council:

A. Application (Douros, dated 04/08/19, received 04/08/19)

B. Floor Plan (Douros, received 04/08/19)

2. The Alternative Use Permit is approved for the proposed axe throwing lounge only and only as illustrated on the attached plans. Any expansion of the use would require review and amendment of this Alternative Use Permit.

3. The Alternative Use Permit is valid for three years and would expire May 21, 2022.

4. The petitioner shall address all of the review comments and requirements of the Community Development and Fire Rescue Departments.

5. The petitioner shall work with staff to refine their plan of operation to be presented to the City Council.

Mr. Jouron seconded the motion. On roll call, members Esposito, Goss, Greenman, Jouron, and Philpot voted aye. Members Skluzacek and Hayden voted no. Motion passed.

REPORT FROM PLANNING

Ms. Maxwell discussed the items that were reviewed by the City Council and what will be on the agenda for the May 15, 2019 meeting.

COMMENTS FROM THE COMMISSION

There were no comments from the Commissioners.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.

https://ecode360.com/documents/CR2206/public/491564928.pdf

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City of Crystal Lake Planning & Zoning Commission